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Calhoun powerlifters take first at state meet

By Julie Garcia
March 20, 2014 at 9:02 p.m.
Updated March 19, 2014 at 10:20 p.m.

The Calhoun girls powerlifting team took first place at the Texas High School Women's Powerlifting Association state meet  March 15. From left; front row: Diane Chau, Natalie Lyssy, Kristian Villegas, Demi Lugo; middle row: McKayla Cortez, Darian Garza, Miranda Smith, Leanna Gottschalt; back row: Jeanette Olachia, Zoey Dierlam, Abby McFall, Kassidy Colianni, Marissa Martinez, Perla Resendez, Brooke Downs

First-place finishers from the Crossroads

• Marissa Martinez, Calhoun, 123-pound class, 825 total pounds lifted

• Kristian Villegas, Calhoun, 132-pound class, 920 total pounds

• Elizabeth Neitch, Victoria West, 181-pound class, 910 total pounds

In the 15 years Jason Bagwell has been the powerlifting coach at Calhoun, he has never had as many girls compete as he has this season.

But regardless of the number, it's about the quality of the lifters on the roster. With many state-level lifters returning to the team, Bagwell said the ability of this year's girls surpassed previous years.

Sixteen girls strong, the Calhoun girls powerlifting team came in first place in the Texas High School Women's Powerlifting Association Class 4A state meet for the ninth year in a row.

From the 97-pound weight class to the super heavyweights, 11 of the Calhoun's participants' scores went toward the team's overall score, which was 13 points higher than Cleburne, who took second place.

Fifteen of the competitors placed in the top 10 of their weight class; many placed in the top five at Corpus Christi.

"At state, I basically knew who our opponent would be - I knew Cleburne would be the team to beat," Bagwell said. "But if we did what we were supposed to do, what we should do, I knew we would do fine."

Each lifter is judged individually on three separate lifts - squat, bench press, dead lift - and then the total weight is his or her final score.

The meet was judged on a tough scale, Bagwell said, so none of the schools were doing "fabulous."

"We like to think that no matter what the circumstances, we'll find a way to get it done, and they did," he said.

Two of Calhoun's competitors came in first place in their weight class: Marissa Martinez in the 123-pound class with 825 total pounds lifted and Kristian Villegas in the 132-pound class with a 920 total lifted.

Victoria West's Elizabeth Neitch also came in first place in the 181-pound class with 910 total pounds lifted.

"I have two that are literally world-class lifters - their totals are that good," Bagwell said about Martinez and Villegas.

Saturday's meet came with a nice surprise, though, with Calhoun senior Diane Chau coming in fourth place in her first-ever state meet. She competed in the 97-pound class with 600 total pounds lifted.

"Usually you don't do very well unless you stick with a sport for three or four years; age is important," Bagwell said about the first-year powerlifter. "She ended up with a fourth-place medal and improved her place significantly from the regional meet."

Bagwell said that the 30- to 40-pound lifting increase from the regional meetregional meet is huge for a smaller competitor. The state meet was Chau's last one before graduation.

The success of Calhoun's powerlifting program is a combination of the girls' hard work and the desire to carry on the strong tradition.

"We try to do things that will help us - a lot of it is psychological," he said. "The girls know that there's tradition they must carry on and want to carry on."

Unless one of them is ill, the coach never has a problem getting the girls to show up and lift at practice.

"I can't think of the last time someone skipped a practice," he said. "I know I have girls I can count on to do what I ask no matter what and no matter when. They're just driven to be successful."

The eight previous state titles have done more than fill up the trophy case in Calhoun.

"It carries down; the younger ones see it from the older girls, and they pass it on," Bagwell said.

All-state basketball teams

Several area girls were named to two separate coaching association all-state lists for the 2013-14 season.

The Texas Girls Coaches Association Basketball named Amanise Coleman from Shiner, Kristie Guerrero and Jazmine Kirby from Weimar to the Class 1A all-state team.

Sydney Morris, from Goliad, was named to the TGBC Class 2A team along with Samantha Gabler from Schulenburg.

Yoakum's Jaccarri Hights was named to the Class 3A team.

Heather Henneke, Kasey Hairrell and Emma Wick, all from Hallettsville, were named to the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches all-region team. Kelsey VanPelt of Industrial, Jaccarri Hights of Yoakum, and Amy Pflughaupt of El Campo, also made the Class 3A all-region team.

Wick, a junior guard, was also named to the TABC all-state team.

THSWPA Class 4A state meet results

Here are the results from local powerlifters from the Texas High School Women's Powerlifting Association Class 4A state meet in Corpus Christi on March 15.

The total pounds lifted in three movements - squat, bench press and dead lift - determine the competitor's place.

97-pound class

McKayla Cortez, Calhoun, second place, 250, 130, 250 (630)

Diane Chau, Calhoun, fourth place, 255, 95, 250 (600)

Leanna Gottschault, Calhoun, seventh place, 215, 105, 225 (545)

Odalys Garduno, Victoria West, 11th place, 200, 100, 220 (520)

105-pound class

Darian Garza, Calhoun, fourth place, 245, 130, 255 (630)

Kassidy Colianni, Calhoun, sixth place, 235, 120, 265 (620)

Julissa Ortiz, Beeville, seventh place, 240, 100, 250 (590)

114-pound class

Miranda Smith, Calhoun, fifth place, 265, 135, 285 (685)

Demi Lugo, Calhoun, ninth place, 260, 135, 250 (645)

123-pound class

Marissa Martinez, Calhoun, first place, 325, 175, 325 (825)

Brooke Downs, Calhoun, third place, 300, 160, 290 (750)

132-pound class

Kristian Villegas, Calhoun, first place, 360, 200, 360 (920)

Breanna Heller, Victoria West, third place, 275, 135, 315 (725)

Abby McFall, fourth place, 300, 125, 290 (715)

148-pound class

Natalie Lyssy, Calhoun, third place, 350, 170, 325 (845)

Perla Resendez, Calhoun, fifth place, 355, 135, 315 (805)

Zoey Dierlam, Calhoun, seventh place, 295, 160, 315 (770)

181-pound class

Elizabeth Neitch, Victoria West, first place, 355, 205, 350 (910)

April Gutierrez, Beeville Jones, 310, 165, 280 (755)

220-pound class

Ashley Olivarez, Beeville Jones, 365, 215, 315 (895)

220-pound plus class

Jeanette Olachia, Calhoun, 380, 165, 365 (910)

Team results

  1. Calhoun 32 points

  2. Cleburne 19

  3. Gregory-Portland 12

  4. Wylie 10

  5. Victoria West 10

  6. Beeville Jones 3

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