East Texas girls powerlifters thrive on pushing boundaries as they grow their sport

East Texas girls powerlifters thrive on pushing boundaries as they grow their sport

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The sport of girls powerlifting continues to grow, and numerous female student-athletes from around Deep East Texas will be in Waco this weekend for the 2019 Texas High School Girls Powerlifting State Meet.

“Everybody thinks it is a boys sport,” said first-year state qualifier Alivia Jackson. “It shocks them when you say you do a certain amount of weight and they say, ‘I do that.’ Well, I do it, too.”

The sport of high school girls powerlifting migrated into Texas in the 1990s but has grown since the start of the 21st century.

“I have been a director for the past 17 years, and when I was first involved with the state meet we had 500 participants,” said Region 1 and 2 Director Fred Howard. “We have now exploded to over 900 competitors. We used to have all the girls lift against each other no matter what classification their school was. Now we have enough to divide the girls into their school-size classification.”

Mariela Garcia from Central High School is making her second trip to state. Garcia was not an athlete when she started high school, but her cousin insisted she try the sport.

“I never looked at getting in because of my appearance,” She encouraged me, and I tried it. It is something I want to do when I go off to college. If you think about, it no one would think a girl could lift what we do. it is crazy."

Jackson comes from a powerlifting family. Her father Archie Ray Jackson qualified for state as an alternate when he was at Diboll. His daughter had dreams of playing football but got in the weight room and fell in love with powerlifting.

“We are a competitive family,” Jackson said. “Everything I do is because of my dad.”

Jackson has no shame in out lifting the boys.

“They look and say, ‘Something aint right,’” Jackson said. “The difference between me and them is I keep my head higher. I have a goal. They want to get there but I want to get there more.”

The state meet is this weekend in Waco. Here are the Deep East Texas competitors:

Division I:

Chloe Camacho, Nacogdoches

Division II:

Victoria Ivy, Rusk

Division III:

Adelina Caceres, Trinity

Cedriyah Holman, San Augustine

Kaylee Bolyard, Hemphill

Cedazia Holman, San Augustine

Jaiden Rose, Shelbyville

Keira DeCluett, Grapeland

Alivia Jackson, Diboll

Stacy Perez, Grapeland

Kailyn Fisher, Trinity

Jada Moore, Shelbyville

Mariela Garcia, Central

Shalandra Walker, San Augustine

Copyright 2019 KTRE. All rights reserved.