A banner year for Tiger powerlifting continued March 8 in Whitney at the Region 2 Division 2 Meet.
With 10 Tigers in competition, Glen Rose finished fourth among 32 teams behind Navasota, College Station and Taylor. The Tigers actually tied with Taylor at 18 points, but Taylor was awarded third because it had a first-place individual.
“I think we were all a little disappointed – Coach (Brandon) Greenhaw, myself and the kids alike – because we all really wanted a team trophy,” said coach Terry Harlin. “Nevertheless, in the grand scheme of things fourth is pretty dang good out of 32 teams.”
Three Tigers advanced to the state meet March 22 in Abilene, marking a new school record. Juniors Heath Nicholson, Azahel Herrera and Antonio Ponce each finished second in their respective weight classes.
“That’s the icing on the cake for how good of a season we’ve had as a team,” Harlin said. “We’re finishing the year strong as a program.”
In the 220-pound class, Nicholson advanced to state both with his total of 1,450 pounds and due to reaching his automatic qualifying total of 1,450. He squatted 550 pounds, bench pressed a personal-best 315 pounds and deadlifted 585 pounds.
“I just tried to put up the total I would need to reach state,” Nicholson said. “I had my best bench of 315, and I hope to get more at state. Putting in extra workouts really helped a lot. Coach Harlin does a good job of pumping you up, as does my mom.
“I feel real humble to have this chance, because not many people can (go to state). I’m excited to give it my all. Since my freshman year, I knew I really liked powerlifting and I like relying on myself.”
Nicholson appreciates what his teammates have been able to do this season.
“I’m happy to see that so many of us made it to regionals,” he said. “That’s what helps the younger kids find out about powerlifting and increases the number of people doing it.”
Harlin was especially pleased with Nicholson’s bench press.
“The bench was the lift that needed the most improvement for Heath and he made it happen,” the coach said. “It turned out that he needed that type of bench to get to the (state) show, and it shows the all-around lifter he is.”
In the 123s, Azahel Herrera finished second and also reached his automatic qualifying total of 950. He achieved personal bests across the board, squatting 350, benching 225 and deadlifting 375. Herrera exceeded his previous best total by 35 pounds – a greater improvement than any other Tiger.
“All the work you put in every day in the weight room shows up,” Herrera said. “Having a strong mindset helps when you get a chance in a special event like this. My bench is pretty good for someone in the 123s. I’d been stuck on 215 until (Saturday).
“Last year, bench was all I did (well), but this year I got more into it and I had to catch up on my legs for the other two lifts. I am proud to have the best bench of the 123s in the region.”
Herrera said he’s pleased to gain state experience now that could help him next year, plus he’s happy to have another chance no matter what happens at state.
“We saw Jared Thames become a two-time state champion, and it really motivated us,” Herrera said. “Jared inspired me a lot to work harder, and it’s a good feeling to know I’m going to state with two of my friends.”
Harlin loved seeing Herrera bring his best.
“Azahel stepped up when he had to with everything on the line,” the coach said. “He did exactly what he had to do to reach state. I’m real proud of him.”
In the 114-pound class, Ponce finished second to punch his state ticket. He squatted a personal-best 315, benched 150 and tied his personal best with a deadlift of 360. His total of 825 was a personal best by 30 pounds.
“I (ranked) third in the region to get here and I finished pretty strong,” Ponce said. “It feels good to add (30) pounds to my total. I’ve always been a good deadlifter. My back is very strong, and I’m proud of that.
“It’s exciting to be a junior going to state, and I hope to go next year, too. Our powerlifting program has gotten way bigger and better. Next year, the three of us going to state now will be back and we’ll have some up-and-coming lifters, so it will be great.”
Harlin appreciated Ponce’s improved total.
“Antonio keeps getting better week to week,” he said. “He works hard, is never satisfied and I’m glad to see the three years he’s put into the sport pay off with a trip to Abilene. His 30-pound increase was impressive because he just finds a way to improve his max lifts.”
Carlin Linnabery finished third in the 132s. He tied personal bests with a squat of 400 and a bench press of 190, plus he had a personal-best deadlift of 365. Linnabery’s total of 955 was a personal best by five pounds, and Harlin pointed out that a deadlift of 410 would’ve vaulted him to state.
“Carlin had a great day and a great year,” the coach said. “It was fun watching him go for a trip to Abilene. Unfortunately, he didn’t get it, but it was close and he made the guy who finished second sweat it out. Carlin’s 400-pound squat is amazing and he did it again (Saturday) to give himself a chance.”
Cesar Herrera finished sixth in the 123s. He set personal bests with a squat of 345 and a deadlift of 330, plus he tied his personal best with a bench press of 185. His total of 860 was a personal best by 20 pounds.
“To get sixth at regionals is real impressive,” Harlin said. “Cesar was another guy who improved week to week. It’s all because of work ethic.”
Freshman Tanner Resecker finished sixth in the 114s. He set a personal best with a squat of 235 to go with a bench press of 130 and a deadlift of 250 for a total of 615.
“For Tanner to get here, period, is impressive,” Harlin said. “For him to get sixth is awesome. I’m real proud of him.”
Braxton Barrios finished seventh in the 220-pound class. He set a personal best with a bench press of 320 and tied a personal best with a squat of 520. He also deadlifted 425 for a total of 1,265.
“Braxton’s bench was very impressive after he’d been working a long time to get past 300,” Harlin said. “Braxton got here as a sophomore and got a taste of what it’s like. He knows what he needs to do for next year.”
Trevor Crawford finished eighth in the 165s. He set a personal best with a bench press of 275 and tied a personal best with a squat of 405. He also deadlifted 420 for a total of 1,100. Harlin pointed out a deadlift of 460 would’ve elevated Crawford all the way to fourth.
“Trevor’s bench is real impressive and it was fun seeing him go for the gusto,” the coach said. “He was in the medal hunt until the very end, and what a season Trevor had.”
Cody Halcom finished 10th in the 123s, as he set a personal best with a deadlift of 320. He also squatted 270 and benched 130 for a total of 720.
“Cody may go up a weight class again next year, but he always finds a way to get to regionals,” Harlin said of the three-time qualifier. “He stepped it up when he had to in order to make it here. His effort was there (Saturday).”
Hunter Redmond competed in the 165s, but didn’t register a squat to begin the day.
“Hunter did well to get this far, especially in that weight class,” Harlin said. “Unfortunately, he didn’t have a good day, but it’s nothing to be ashamed of.”
In the days to come, three Tigers are back to work in pursuit of state success.