The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

Multiple Power-lifters Compete at Regionals and Head to State

Regional winners (pictured left to right). senior Summer De La Cruz, junior Danny Krestos, Junior Diego Figueroa and senior Calliope ‘Callie’ Nixon

Powerlifting is a sport that showcases strength and grit and requires hours of training for success. Despite starting last year, the new powerlifting club at Niles West has won multiple awards and broken records.  This year, Junior Diego Figueroa broke a state record and won at regionals.  Junior Danny Crestos and seniors Calliope ‘Callie’ Nixon and Summer De La Cruz also won their competitions at regionals.

The list of powerlifters who have qualified for state are seniors Nora Schmidt, De La Cruz, Nixon and Derek Truong, Quinton Guzman, juniors, Ben Klinghofer, Nathan Rodriguez and freshman Sunrise De La Cruz.

In powerlifting competitions, competitors get three tries to perform three lifts: the deadlift, the bench and the back squat.  They also get three tries to lift a specific weight to increase their ‘personal record’ or PR. A PR is the heaviest recorded weight lifted.

Figueroa raised the state record for the deadlift from 125 to 130 pounds. He remembers feeling astonished at the results.

“I felt like it was kind of something I didn’t expect to do, even from my training. Deadlift was the one lift I didn’t think I’d be able to break because it just felt so far away. But I guess in the moment I really locked in and I was just able to break it,” Figueroa said.

The other members similarly felt triumphant about the results and happy that their work paid off.

The work leading up to the competition was strenuous. All the members trained regularly on top of going to weekly powerlifting practices on Wednesday.

“A week before the meet, we do something called a taper week. Basically, it’s just working out but with less volume and less intensity; basically trying to get that last bit of muscle activation before you kind of fatigue yourself.  It’s basically just priming you up to your competition,” Figueroa said.

Every day after school, Figueroa drives to a nearby powerlifting gym and trains for two to three hours every day on top of weekly practice on Wednesdays. The other members also frequently practice outside of formal team practices.

The coaches create workouts for the team to practice with warm-ups and exercises to get stronger. At the gym, members typically practice squatting, benching, or deadlifting for 45 minutes.

Because of the competition and physical aspect of the powerlifting, the members endeavor for it to become an official sport at Niles West.

“I think it’s hard because it’s one of the sports that people don’t necessarily see as a sport, but it actually requires a lot of mobility and a lot of technique work and I would love to see it become a recognized sport here, especially since we have so many people that are so strong and so dedicated and we have winners and it’s a competition that we go to so I see it as a sport,” Nixon said.

Other than the team’s powerlifting achievements, they believe their bond and team culture is strong.

“It’s a team activity and luckily we have teammates that are just funny and also we just feel like a team which I think is the best thing that anybody could possibly ask for.  I think this year it feels like a team, so even if nobody wins, or even if people do win, there’s always still a sense of camaraderie and support,” Nixon said.

Co-captain of powerlifting Cruz believes that the members’ mindset also contributed to their growth.

“If you look at how they were lifting at the beginning of the year compared to now, they are so much better now; they come to practice so they can learn how to get better, not to get stronger which is obviously a plus, but they are also just so open to learning how to learn,” Cruz said.

The team collectively hopes to win at state and break their personal records once more.

“I would like to break about two to three state records including my own deadlift record,” Figueroa said.

“I’m hoping to break the bench record for my weight class. Right now it’s at 160 so I’m hoping to at least hit 165. I’m feeling pretty good about it; I mean I have my training program in place and I’ve gotten really close to the record before so I think that it’s a realistic goal,” Nixon said.

The members will compete at the state competition on May 18. Be sure to come out and show your support!

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Niles West News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *