North Texas Daily

Powering through

Powering through

Powering through
February 20
12:30 2020

Having four members place top 10 in their weight classes at collegiate nationals last April epitomized the growth the women’s powerlifting team has experienced in recent years.

“My freshman year, our team was very small on the girls’ side,” senior lifter Karen Carrera said. “Our team has gotten so much bigger.”

Powerlifting doesn’t have a set season. Members compete at varying times throughout the year, leaving ample time between meets to train and allow their bodies to recover.

“Your body needs to rest,” sophomore lifter Brenda Sanchez said. “You can’t be stressing your muscles that much because then that leads to injury.”

Due to this need for recovery time, Sanchez said she did not compete in the meet at the University of Texas at Dallas on Feb. 16 and instead is focused on preparing for this year’s collegiate national meet in April. She placed third in her weight class at nationals last year.

To qualify for the national competition, lifters must reach a cumulative weight total between three lifts — squat, bench press and deadlift. This standard varies by weight class and is established by the United States Association of Powerlifting, which recently increased the benchmarks needed to reach nationals.

One challenge lifters face is not progressing as quickly as they would like.

“A lot of times you get focused on getting stronger,” Carrera said. “You forget sometimes that it’s a process and you’re not just going to get there tomorrow.”

The team enjoys these challenges,  relishing the fact that they have teammates who encourage them to overcome these hurdles.

Despite powerlifting being an individual sport, support from teammates is an equally important part of lifters’ success, Carrera said.

“I hate going to the gym by myself,” Sanchez said. “[With the team,] someone’s there supporting you, someone to talk to … you get so much extra adrenaline. It’s different than when you’re alone.”

Beyond competing, these relationships built by working out and struggling together are a big part of what reinforces the team.

“You come into the gym every day and you push each other and you work for something,” junior lifter Hallie Brinson said. “You rely on your teammates to push you … and make you believe that you are stronger than you think.”

However, they themselves are dedicated to honing their craft.

“I look at the videos I record of myself in the gym and I’m like ‘Okay, what can I do better?’” Sanchez said. “That’s just your mindset, you need to get in there, work on your stuff and just get better.”

Seeing this improvement come to fruition is satisfying for the lifters, showing them their hard work paid off.

“Powerlifting makes you feel like you’re accomplishing something better for yourself,” Brinson said. “Seeing improvements, not just in your body but in PRs. It’s addicting.”

In practicing at a gym off-campus, the team is able to have a space to themselves and really immerse themselves in working out.

This environment helps prepare the members for meets mimicking the high-energy atmosphere of a competition.

“Here, we can be as loud as we want and be as crazy as we want,” Carrera said. “You’re in your zone at a different level. There’s so much energy around you. You just want to really work hard.”

Powerlifting club president Josh Cortez is inspired by the team’s commitment and consistency when practicing.

“It’s inspiring to me because they don’t have to be here to do this,” Cortez said. “They can definitely just lift on their own or do whatever, but they want to be a part of this team.”

Above all, the women’s team hopes its recent success combined with great team relationships inspires others to join.

“My first year I met some really cool people … they were my first friends at UNT,” Carrera said. “Now, seeing the team grow, it’s gotten so big and it’s really fun.”

Featured Image: Senior Karen Carrera practices a squatting lift on Feb. 6, 2020. Image by Scout Streit

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John Fields

John Fields

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