The Rockport-Fulton High School powerlifting team sent three Lady Pirates to compete in the State Powerlifting Meet Friday, March 19 at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi.
Junior lifter Valeria Ramirez was named a State Champion with a first place finish in the 148 lb. weight class. She is the first ever RFHS student to be named a first place state champion in powerlifting.
As a sophomore, Ramirez also qualified for state but never got the opportunity to compete as the COVID-19 pandemic forced a cancellation of the meet.
This year, she finished a state champion in her first time at the meet.
“I worked harder than I ever had this year and I did everything I possibly could and made it back to state,” said Ramirez. “I’m really proud of myself, I’m excited, and I’m ready to work hard again.”
During the deadlift, the last lift of the meet, there was a time when Ramirez and her coaches thought she lost her opportunity to place first. Another lifter from Navarro was given an opportunity to beat Ramirez in her final lift after Ramirez did not make her final lift.
“When I didn’t get my third lift, I was devastated. I sort of burst into tears and was heartbroken. I felt like all the hard work I did this season went to waste,” said Ramirez.
When Ramirez did not make her final lift, the other lifter from Navarro bumped her weight down because it was all she needed to win. However, the Navarro lifter also failed her final lift, preserving Ramirez’ first place finish by 10 lbs.
“I didn’t even watch her do her last lift. I was in my brother’s chest crying … All of a sudden, everyone started grabbing me and telling me the last girl didn’t get her lift,” said Ramirez. “It was a feeling of glory. It just felt amazing to know that I had won and I fell to floor crying even harder.”
Ramirez came into the meet ranked fourth in her region and RFHS Head Girls Powerlifting Coach Amanda Hibbs said she had to do the best she’s ever done to win.
“She knew she had to have the best meet of the year, and she did,” said Hibbs.
Ramirez ended up setting personal records in all three of her lifts. She squatted 380 lbs., bench pressed 185 lbs., and deadlifted 350 lbs.
“We knew what she needed to do to get here and she’s put in so much work,” said Hibbs. “Even in the weight room when we work together as a whole athletic program, she’s one the girls look to, adding weight to her bar, pushing her body past its limits. She’s one of the hardest workers we have in our entire athletic program.”
Along with Ramirez, sophomore Cheyenne Martinez also medaled in the meet with a fifth place finish in the 220 lb. weight class.
Making her first appearance at a state meet, Martinez said she had to puke as soon as they got to the meet.
“I didn’t even have anything in my stomach. I just couldn’t contain my nervousness, so I went to the restroom and threw up,” said Martinez.
Hibbs said Martinez set a personal best in two of her three lifts. She squatted 365 lbs., bench pressed 185 lbs., and deadlifted 350 lbs.
Martinez battled with three other lifters to maintain her fifth place spot. After failing to make her last attempt in deadlift, she thought she lost her chance, thinking one of the other three girls would hit their lift to knock her out of medaling. Nonetheless, neither of them did.
“I went to get my bag and was going to change out. I was defeated, I was crying,” said Martinez. “But when I came back from changing, coach Hibbs told me to get in line because I placed fifth.
“It’s really amazing because I’ve already made it to state as a sophomore and placed top five, so it’s a really great feeling.”
And last but not least, freshman Stehle Snyder also made her first appearance at the state meet and placed eighth in the 132 lb. weight class.
Out of fear, Snyder said she almost had to puke when they first arrived.
“I felt like throwing up, I almost did. I was so scared because I’m a freshman, and I was literally surrounded by juniors and seniors,” said Snyder.
However, Snyder said she calmed down a bit more as she got to meet with some of the girls in her weight class.
“They were really nice. It was just a good atmosphere,” said Snyder.
Hibbs said Snyder had her best meet of the year, recording personal bests in all three of her lifts. She squatted 260 lbs., bench pressed 125 lbs., and deadlifted 300 lbs.
Snyder said she plans to get a lot stronger in the offseason and wants to leave next year’s state meet with a medal.