Four MHS powerlifting athletes took first place in their weight classes at the regional meet on March 16 at Warren High School. Competing against multiple schools, Seniors Leo Servin, Franco Perez, Jessie Haro and David Montenegro Alvarado were able to represent MHS with their victories.
But, through their eyes, winning was much more than just a title.
“In the sport of powerlifting, winning isn’t everything,” Perez said. “Sure, it does feel nice, but what’s most important is that you broke your PRs [personal records].”
However, Perez added that taking first at regionals “definitely made [him] feel excited.”
“Throughout the whole day, with the other people in my weight class, we were neck and neck, and hearing my name announced for first place definitely brought joy to me,” Perez said.
For the meet, each individual is separated into different weight classes in which he competes with others similar to his weight and strength.
Although regionals is a competition among the powerlifters and schools, the atmosphere remains supportive.
“The atmosphere is amazing; there’s nothing like it,” Servin said. “You have a ton of people surrounding you and cheering you on. You have people in your weight class cheering you on even though they’re trying to beat you.”
In addition to the friendly competition, the overall benefit of lifting seems to mean much more to these athletes.
“Powerlifting can be therapeutic; it distracts you from all the bad and forces you to focus on a positive goal,” Montenegro Alvarado said. “Powerlifting can also bring huge health benefits if done properly. Of course, the biggest benefit is the drastic increase in not only physical strength but also mental strength.”
In regards to the mental strength aspect of the sport, Haro shared the original reason he began lifting and how the sport has brought a newfound respect for himself.
“Back in middle school and even around the start of high school, I’d been called many names due to how skinny and unathletic I was,” he said. “Eventually, I got to the point where I was tired of it, and another friend, David, and I both decided to start weightlifting so that we could make a change in our lives.”
Others use powerlifting to look toward the future and what’s to come whether they succeed or not at these meets. Particularly, it becomes about the goals they’ve set for themselves.
“In this sport you can never get satisfied. You set a goal and the second you reach it, you set the bar even higher,” Montenegro Alvarado said. “Your goal is to beat your previous self, to become a better you, to improve.”
For Servin, the transition of a multisport athlete to a powerlifter brought nothing but positives to his life, similar to his fellow lifters.
“It’s definitely more than just lifting and competing for me; it’s become a passion that I have, and I always look forward to it,” Servin said.
In the end, the success at the Warren regionals humbled the powerlifters more than anything else. The hard work and dedication paid off, memories were made and the victories were just a small part of the experience.
“Powerlifting, to me, is more than just seeing how much weight I can lift,” Haro said. “It’s more than just competing. To me, powerlifting is a hobby that pushes me to do better and become stronger each day. Seeing myself make progress makes me love powerlifting.”