Garza wins State powerlifting title

First-year lifter Regina Garza won the title at the State powerlifting meet. Visit our online gallery for more photos!
JuJu Morales took 3rd place in the 132 lb. weight class.

A record breaking year for the Natalia Lady Mustang Powerlifting program came to a close in Waco this past Saturday at the State Meet. For the second time in the programs history, a Natalia Lady Mustang captured a State Championship thanks to the efforts of first time senior lifter Regina Garza. JuJu Morales, a talented junior who competed in her third straight state meet, finished in 3rd place as the remaining four girls in blue gave a great effort.
“Regina brought home our program’s second state championship dominating the competition and breaking records along the way,” Natalia Head Coach Ilyan Martinez said. “She had a special day as she attended her first and sadly her last State Meet as a senior. She deserves all the recognition as she had an outstanding year.”
Garza was able to go 9-9 on her lifts to secure the state title slashing the records in squad and dead lift.
Garza used a squat of 300 lbs., a bench press of 140 lbs. and a dead lift of 315 lbs. to account for her state championship total of 755 lbs. This beat out 2nd place Kelsey Lopez (Van Vleck) 720 lb. total and 3rd place Annika Nittmo (Winnsboro) 710 lb. total. A total of 12 young ladies competed in the 105 lb. weight class.
“We will miss her leadership and competitiveness that she brought to our team and we look forward to seeing what the future holds for this four sport athlete,” Martinez said.
In the 132 lb. weight class, JuJu Morales claimed 3rd place thanks to an 825 lb. total.
“With this being her third appearance, we expected her to lead with her experience and leadership and that is what she did,” Martinez said. “We had every intention of bringing home the gold, but things did not work out for us, but I thought she gave a great effort and battled her way through.
Morales used a 315 lb. squat, a 195 lb. bench press and a 315 lb. dead lift to account for her total.
“With her hard work, she was able to break the bench press record in her weight class Saturday,” Martinez said. “I have really enjoyed watching the maturation of JuJu through this sport and I am excited to see what she will do as a senior in 2018. Morales is a three sport athlete for NHS.”
97 lb. weight class
Four sport athlete Sam Sanchez competed in her first ever state meet in the 97 lb. weight class. Sanchez was able to claim 10th place out of 17 lifters thanks to a 590 lb. total.
“Sammy competed in her first state meet of hopefully many more to come,” Martinez said. “This talented sophomore had a great season and we will lean on her to lead our future team.”
Sanchez finished the day with a 230 lb. squat, a 120 lb. bench press and a 240 lb. dead lift to account for her total.
Another young lady to compete in her first ever state meet was junior three sport athlete Anastasia Rodriguez. She finished in 13th place in the 97 lb. weight class thanks to a 570 lb. total.
“Ana did a great job of representing our program on Saturday in her first ever state meet,” Martinez said. “I could not be any prouder of how she has come along making it this far, especially after missing most of the season due to an injury from another sport.”
Rodriguez finished the state meet with a 225 lb. squat, a 135 lb. bench press and a 210 lb. dead lift.
“She is just a junior, so we will expect her to lead with the rest of our young team moving forward,” Martinez said.”
114 lb. weight class
Four sport sophomore Iris Cantu was also a first time attendee in Waco last Saturday and did a great job finishing in 10th place in her weight class. She finished with a 690 lb. total, which was comprised of a 275 lb. squat, a 140 lb. bench press and a 275 lb. dead lift.
“She did a great job of competing and she gained valuable experience that she will use to guide our team for years to come,” Martinez said. “We are excited about her future as she moved forward in the sport.”
Last but not least was senior Jasmine Gomez who finished in 14th place out of 21 lifters in the weight class. She finished the day with a 665 lb. total which included a 275 lb. squat, a 135 lb. bench press and a 255 lb. dead lift.
“Jasmine competed in probably the toughest judged platform on Saturday and competed like a senior veteran and I could not be prouder of her and her career,” Martinez said. “This will complete her career with us and we will miss her leadership, her work ethic as she has set such a great example for so many lifters to follow. Gomez is also a three sport athlete and we are excited about her future going forward.”
Team Finish
The Brooks Academy Lady Bengals won the State Title with 17 team points, as San Diego (17), Hebbronville (15), Winnsboro (14), Little River Academy (13) and Van Alstyne (12) finished ahead of Natalia (10). Natalia’s 7th place finish is nothing to be ashamed of, considering there were over 80 different schools in attendance!
“It was a history making year for our program being able to take six girls to the state meet and compete at a high level,” Martinez said. “While we lose great seniors who set a great standard for many to follow, I am excited about our future with such a young team. All of our girls are multi-sport athletes and that says a lot about our program as a whole and the commitment we have from our kids. We will learn on our experience moving forward and continue to build a great tradition of champions and excellence here at Natalia.”

By Eric Smith
Staff Writer