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Bulldogs prepare for state powerlifting competition

Nederland powerlifting is sending eight student athletes to the state competition in Corpus Christi.

Five girls and three boys qualified for the Bulldogs, head coach Jae Stoker said.

Assistant coach Mike Todd said he he looks at the accomplishment as a team goal.

“Our girls really encourage each other,” Todd said. “Our goal each year is to get a full team to regionals. We took eight kids this year to the regional meet. We only carry about 12-15 kids each year. At the end of the day, it is about an individual, but our team supports each other and they want to see each other succeed.”

Senior Kelsey Hernandez, junior Taryn Burnet, senior Tina Nguyen, junior Vanessa Hughes and sophomore Mia Watler will make the trip to the state competition on the girls team. For the boys, seniors Logan Williams and Diego Torres and junior Evan Ceja will attend the competition.

Todd said the lifters are breaking personal records each week.

“We are seeing gains each week that we compete,” he said. “Once a kids plateaus out, you are what you are. The work that they are putting in is paying off and we are getting good results from it.”

Todd said the girls are tracking well for their respective weights. The top six in each class will medal. As of the regional competition, Hernandez and Watler would place eighth, Hughes and Nguyen would be in 10th and Burnet would be 11th.

“That is as close as I could find of where our girls stood,” he said. “That is just me going and digging through each regional meet and picking out who qualifies for the state meet. We won’t know until we get there. We are excited. There is anywhere from 20-25 student athletes in each of these classes.”

Placing well in the state meet could come down to how the competition is judged, Todd said.

“Powerlifting is very subjective,” he said. “You look at how judges at a regional meet compare to how judges judge at another. Until everyone gets on the same platform, you are just looking at numbers. You want to be in the second flight so that you see what you can get away with and what you can’t. You can get a feel for how deep you have to get on your squats. We try to train for the worst-case scenario. Last week, we thought the judges let them get away with a little higher squat.”

The state competition will be held in Corpus Christi March 20.