It’s been more than a decade since El Campo High School took part in a powerlifting meet, but at Palacios High School this Saturday, they will compete once again.
After dropping powerlifting as a school sport after the 2011 school year, El Campo Athletic Director Chad Worrell brought the sport back.
Until this year, El Campo was the only school in the county without a powerlifting program.
Louise sent 11 athletes to the state meet last year, eight girls and three boys.
“It’s such a great outlet for kids who don’t have anything else to compete in,” Worrell said. “It catches the kids who aren’t baseball players, soccer players, swimmers, golfers or tennis players and it gives those kids something to do in the Spring.”
Powerlifting is a sport that encompasses all, not just the big and strong.
“It gives the big linemen who (don’t) do anything else except play football something to do, but it also gives the 98-pound freshman or sophomore that really don’t feel like they can compete in other sports something to do and girls an opportunity too in the same fashion,” Worrell said. “It takes a lot of guts and courage to get out there and power lift.”
This past summer the school board added two powerlifting coaching positions with the completion of their new weight lifting room to be completed later in the year. Worrell tapped Robby Perez to run the powerlifting program for Ricebird and Ladybird athletes. Perez was also a varsity co-offensive line coach during the football season.
“The kids are strong (in El Campo). Now let’s let them compete at what they are already good at, give them the same opportunity all the other kids in the state of Texas can,” Perez said.
Despite not having a powerlifting program, El Campo turned heads at the state linemen challenge over the summer. Ricebird senior Juan Leal got 25 reps of 225-pounds. For reference Payton Turner who was drafted in the NFL out of the University of Houston in the first round had 23 reps of 225-pounds at the NFL combine.
Perez came to El Campo from Pilot Point and has coached powerlifting for seven years. Perez has had a powerlifter make it to the state meet every year he’s coached.
“It’s exciting for these kids. In the past, they’ve done a great job in the weight program and the kids are strong and they’re ready to go. We’re excited to let them compete at what they’re already good at,” Perez said. “Heck, on the way home from Abilene (at the state linemen challenge) driving back I said I can’t wait to come back here in the Spring, because I know we’ll have a few make it down there.”
El Campo powerlifters will have three meets to qualify for regionals. The second meet for El Campo will be in their new multi-million dollar weight room on Feb 9.