Ray Cortez did not get off to the start he wanted Saturday at the Class 3A Region VI meet at Decatur High School, missing his first squat.
But the Decatur junior didn’t take long to rebound on his way to winning the super heavyweight class. Cortez lifted 1,540 pounds to take the division by 90 pounds and earn a spot at the March 26 state meet in Abilene.Making his regional debut, Cortez was battling nerves.
“All week I had butterflies,” he said. “I was really nervous and spent the whole week really focusing on this.”
Decatur coach Heath Tullous said Cortez’ uneasiness was evident.
“He was real nervous with it being his first regional meet,” he said. “He won it easily just being naturally strong. We were making him do a lot of weight to see what he can do.”
Cortez received a red light on his first squat for not going down far enough. He recovered to squat 575.
“That made me determined to get my next lift,” Cortez said.
He followed with a 380-pound bench press. Cortez closed the meet by pulling up 585 pounds.
With the regional title in hand, Cortez hopes to add more hardware at state and set a personal best.
“I think I can do more and get to 1,600 pounds,” he said.
He will be joined at state by three other Decatur lifters – Dillan Brown, Zach Ramirez and Alejandro Beltran.
Ramirez finished second in the 114-pound class, lifting 750. He squatted 295, benched 160 and pulled 295 on deadlift.
Beltran took second in the 132-class with his total of 1,060 pounds. He had a squat of 415, bench press of 235 and deadlift of 410.