In a sport fueled by records, Alice set lofty a mark of its own this season.
For the first time in the history of the school’s powerlifting program, Alice High School is sending six girls to the Region 5 meet. Moreover, of the six regional qualifiers, five are ranked fifth or better in their respective weight classes.
For a school that went years with little representation at the regional level, qualifying such a big group means the program is slowly emerging as a powerlifting powerhouse.
“It’s neat to see what we’re doing in girls powerlifting here,” Alice coach Michael Silvas said. “We’ve never had this many girls do this well.”
Silvas, now in his second season heading up the Alice powerlifting program, credits the girls who came before these girls for laying the foundation for a strong girls team. In 2012, Alice girls and all-around athletes Sydnei Vela and Gabriela Solis placed at regionals and qualified at state. A year later, Vela returned. She won her weight class at regionals and went on to win a state title in the 114-pound weight class. She also set a state record in her weight class with a 310-pound squat.
“I think girls like Sydnei helped make our powerlifting program,” Silvas said. “I think other girls saw her and thought to themselves that they too wanted to be in powerlifting. We started getting a lot of girls after Sydnei. We started getting a lot of cheerleaders and girls who did other sports. It made girls powerlifting something they all wanted to do.”
Alice had four girls qualify to regionals last year. Of that group, Cecily Gonzalez and Allison Macias went on to lift at the state meet. They’re part of the girls leading this year’s group into regionals.
Gonzalez, a junior, is the region’s top-ranked lifter in the 132-pound weight class going into the regional meet at Weslaco on Saturday. She has an impressive total of 895, which includes a 405-pound squat, a 170-pound bench press and a 320-pound dead lift. Macias, a junior, is ranked third in the 154-pound weight class. She has a total of 910, which includes a 380-pound squat, 185-pound bench press and a 345-pound dead lift. Sophomore Chloe Zapata is also highly ranked. She is ranked second in the 181-pound weight class with an 875 total. She has a 370-pound squat, a 175-pound bench press and a 300-pound dead lift.
Alice’s other regional qualifiers include Kirtsen Alaniz, who is eighth in the 105-pound weight class with a 660-pound total; Bianca Alvarez, who is ranked fifth in the 114-pound weight class with a 765-pound total; and Edy Garza, who is fourth in the 198-pound weight class with an 840-pound total.
With two weeks between their last meet, which they happen to win in Calallen, and regionals, the team lifted heavy last week and the game plan is to fine tune their lifts this week leading up to the big meet.
“I think we’re going to do well as a team,” Gonzalez said. “If we all get our lifts, I think we can place high as a team.”
While Alice lifters have of course placed individually, the program has never won a team title. This year could be different.
"For the first time, we can win a team trophy at regionals if everyone hits their totals,” Silvas said.