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Memorial's Turner seeks state powerlifting title

By MIKE FORMAN
March 26, 2010 at 4:04 p.m.
Updated March 25, 2010 at 10:26 p.m.

Preston Turner, 18, bench presses at Pure Fitness and Tanning after school on Thursday. Turner will compete for at the state powerlifting tournament in Abilene on Saturday.

Texas High School Powerlifting AssociationState Meet Qualifiers

Saturday, Taylor Expo Center, Abilene

Division I

242 pounds: Preston Turner, Memorial, 1,795 pounds

275 pounds: Albert Ureste, Calhoun, 1,550 pounds

198 pounds: Brandon Griffith, Calhoun, 1,460 pounds & Jose Saucedo, Calhoun, 1,410 pounds

114 pounds: Frankie Garza, Calhoun, 1,025 pounds

Division III

275 pounds: Taylor Henning, Refugio, 1,470 pounds

242 pounds: Mike Martinez, Weimar, 1,405 pounds

198 pounds: Cody Pavlicek, Schulenburg, 1,345 pounds

Football is Preston Turner's meal ticket, but powerlifting is food for his soul.

Turner was a three-year starter on the defensive line for the Memorial football team and it has given him the opportunity to continue his education at Mary Hardin-Baylor University.

Powerlifting has been Turner's passion and he has an excellent chance to win a state championship and set three state records at the Texas High School Powerlifting Association state meet on Saturday at the Taylor Expo Center in Abilene.

"I like the fact that everything is on me," Turner said. "If there's a problem I can get in there and fix it. It's unlike football, where you're depending on a team. In powerlifting I'm depending on nobody but myself."

Turner will compete in the Division I, 242-pound class after setting three records en route to winning the Region 5 title in Weslaco with a total lift of 1,795 pounds.

Turner's squat of 725 pounds was a regional record and only five pounds short of the state record. His bench press of 500 pounds was a regional mark and is equal to the state mark, and his overall lift was a regional record and better than the state record of 1,760 pounds set by Graham Cole of South Garland in 2007.

"It's just fun for me because it's just so competitive, especially within myself," Turner said. "It's fun for me to come up with new numbers and get stronger and stronger."

Turner has gotten stronger by spending three hours a day, four days a week in the weight room, either at Memorial or Pure Fitness and Tanning, where he trains after school.

"Preston is built to powerlift," said Memorial coach Rick Bivins. "He has a great build for it. He loves to lift weights. He works hard in the weight room. You take the combination with way he's built in conjunction with how much fun it is to him and how hard he works, you'll have a state champion."

Turner is determined to bring home the state championship as a senior after seeing his chance to win a title last year hindered by a computer error that caused his paperwork for the state meet to be submitted late and forcing him to compete in the 275-pound class.

Turner finished third despite hurting his back and weighing in at 245 pounds after eating a loaf of bread full of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

"What I try to do is open low and go from there," said Turner, who stands around 5-foot-10 and has had no trouble making the 242-pound weight limit. "My first attempt is something I know I can get. My second attempt is the amount I got at the last meet. The third attempt is something new. Depending on how that feels. It always goes off how it feels."

Turner is looking forward to playing football at Mary Hardin-Baylor in the fall and plans to continue powerlifting.

He will take part in the American Powerlifting Association's World Championship meet in April.

"It's definitely a tight-knit community," Turner said. "The lifters that are very successful are known within the powerlifting community."

Turner hopes to enhance his reputation within the powerlifting community by winning a state title and setting state records in the process.

"There's always nerves," Turner said. "I started three years of varsity football, but every game you get those nerves. Once that first play is over, then you're great and you forget all about it. It's the same thing with powerlifting. You get crazy nerves wondering if you're going to get your opening lifts. You get your first squat and usually you're golden."

NOTES: Memorial's Kohlton Tegeler will be an alternate at the state meet after finishing third in the 242-pound class at the regional meet with a total lift of 1,335 pounds.

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