More champions will be made in Abilene this weekend as the Texas High School Powerlifting Association’s State Championships begin Saturday, March 23 at the Taylor Expo Center Coliseum. Opening ceremonies begin at 8:30 a.m. with the actual lifting beginning at 9:00 a.m. The public is invited and admission is $5.
An estimated 2,500 visitors from all over the state will be in Abilene to cheer on 471 weight lifters. This is the sixth consecutive year for Abilene to host the Championships. The Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau estimate the economic impact of over $555,000 will be pumped into Abilene’s economy in just two days.
“Abilene’s location in the state makes it a fantastic central location to meet. We are always welcomed with open arms and the facility is perfect for our needs. The support from the Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Taylor County Expo Center and local high schools is tremendous. The association plans to stay as long as Abilene will have us,” Barry Newton, President of the Texas High School Powerlifting Association, said.
To qualify for the state championships an athlete must place first or second in his region. They may also qualify by lifting a set weight determined by the Powerlifting Association by weight class.
This year, two of Abilene’s own high schools will be represented at the state meet.
Cooper High juniors qualified for the state championships. Riley Owens will compete in the super heavy weight class. “Riley was a key lifter and has helped the team throughout the season,” Cooper Coach Justin Head said. “He is a large part of the team’s success; it’s no surprise to me that he is at the state championship.” William Coleman also qualified in the 198 lb. class. Coleman will not compete in the powerlifting state championships as he is one of those multi-talented athletes and will be competing in the regional track meet on Saturday.
Abilene High will have two senior team members vying for a state championship title. Chantz Anderson will compete in the 275 lb. weight class and Anthony McLendon in the 242 lb. weight class. Abilene High Coach Tommy Martinez said “both of these young men are hard workers and great leaders. They have been leaders at Abilene High and will continue to be leaders in life.” Abilene High juniors Anthony Drayton super heavy weight class and Josh Hunter 242 lb. weight class are alternates, coming in third at Regionals. Coach Martinez said “we anticipate great things from both of these young men next year.”
Additional Information on the State Championships: Each qualified lifter must also present an Eligibility Form, State Meet Release form and a Drug Testing Affidavit. Several different weight classes will compete for state titles. Each lifter must meet their weight classification at one of the two weigh-in times. If a lifter is over or under the weight limit in his classification on Friday he may do whatever he can to get to the weight limit on Saturday morning. If the weight is not met on Saturday morning the lifter will be disqualified.
Each weight lifter competes in three events squat, bench press and dead lift and has three attempts for each lift. The lifter's competing total comes from his best lift at each event. The lifter and his coach choose the weight he will start with and the increased weight increments. The lifter with the highest total in his class wins the state championship.