Funez finishes strong in Corpus Christi

TYE CHANDLER sports@theglenrosereporter.com
Genesis Funez matches her personal-record squat of 390 pounds at state. She broke new ground in her other two lifts, enabling the senior to exceed her previous top total by 30 pounds and finish 10th in her weight class.

Heading to a state competition, every athlete hopes to exceed what they've previously been able to accomplish.

While it wasn't without adversity, Glen Rose High senior Genesis Funez was able to make that happen March 21 in Corpus Christi at the state powerlifting meet. Coming in ranked 12th in the 220-plus class, Genesis exceeded her previous personal-record total by 30 pounds (915) and finished 10th.

"Honestly, being at state put the pressure on a lot," she said. "Seeing a bunch of girls do a lot more weight than I can can do, but I think the pressure helped me because I beat my deadlift personal record by 20 pounds. It opens your eyes to see how strong they are, but it was cool to be a part of it."

To say the state judges were being tough during the squat portion of the meet would be an understatement.

"We started with 370 on squat, and I got her pretty low, but they still didn't give it to her," said coach Terry Harlin. "She did get her second attempt of 390 (to match her personal record), and they gave her one red light, even though it was lower than I've ever taken anybody. Then we went for 410 - I took her the exact same depth as the 390 lift - and she got two red lights. I was disappointed for her, because that would've given her PRs across the board.

"If we had the regional judges, I'm not sure she doesn't get 425 (Saturday). At least it was an issue for all lifters, and four girls bombed out on squat."

Genesis shared her coach's frustration, but knew there was much work to be done.

"I think it was just the judges' call," she said. "I felt like I was two inches from the floor, and I didn't know if I'd be able to bring 410 back up. I got it and locked out, so I was looking for approval, then I saw two red lights.

"I was like 'are you kidding me' when they said it was for depth. The way things were going, I was happy I got (an approved) lift in."

Genesis bench pressed 170 at regionals, and her personal record was 175.

"She was able to get 180, and you always want to finish with your best ever on the biggest stage," Harlin said.

Her deadlift of 325 at regionals was a personal record.

"Squat didn't go as planned, but it was out of my control," she said. "I was looking forward to deadlift, because it's the main thing I've been focusing on the last two weeks. I just knew I had to bring my (PR) up somehow, and then when I got on the platform all I was thinking was 'lift it.'"

"She was absolutely locked in on deadlift," Harlin said. "We started her off with 300, which would've been her finishing lift a few meets ago, but she made it look like she was warming up. Then we went to the 325 she did at regionals, and she still made it look easy.

"We went up 20 from there, and she got 345. In terms of stepping up compared to what she's done before, that last deadlift was her best lift of the season I think."

Funez appreciates the support from Harlin and Coach Brandon Greenhaw during her three years in the program.

"Coach Greenhaw was with his new baby this weekend, but I'm happy with the coaching he's given me in my career," she said. "He's always kept me thinking positive. Coach Harlin told me this is my last season, my last meet and my last lift of my high school career - just make the best of it. He reminded me that I set (school) records and made history, and I should be proud of that.

"I am, and I couldn't have done it without their coaching. I really appreciate them."

In addition to owning the squat, bench, deadlift and total school records for all weight classes, Funez is the program's only two-time regional qualifier and state qualifier.

"She worked really hard," Harlin said. "She has natural ability, but the reason she got to compete on the biggest stage was her work ethic. She's paved the way for Glen Rose girls' powerlifting and left her own legacy."

Funez cherished her time in the program.

"I think powerlifting is a great opportunity for girls to see what they're capable of doing," she said. "It's awesome. The only regret I have about powerlifting is that I didn't start soon enough. I think for the junior high girls coming in as freshmen, it would be a great opportunity to give it a shot.

"I'm really proud of (freshman) Breana (Rosentreter) and everything she's done this season. She's going to go far, and I believe in her.

"It's awesome she joined the program, and I'm pretty sure she'll be at regionals next year. I hope what I did helps other girls think they want to do it also."