Each morning, the quartet of Raymond Cortez, Dillan Brown, Nolan Newville and Zack Ramirez can be found in the Decatur fieldhouse’s weight room flexing their muscle to push up as much weight as possible.
But it’s not the only time the quartet is together.
”We’re all best friends,” Brown said. “It’s not only in the weight room. We hang out together.”
Besides close friendships that in the instance of Brown and Ramirez date back to elementary school, the quartet share a bond as one of the school’s most talented classes in the sport of powerlifting. All four have made trips to the state meet with Brown claiming a state title last year.
The quartet will try to nail down as many state berths as possible Saturday, lifting at the Texas High School Powerlifting Association’s Region VI Division II meet at Decatur High School gym. The meet starts at 9 a.m.
“All four of us have been to state at least one time,” Cortez said. “We all put pressure on each other to finish every lift. This is our last chance to lift for state.”
Even before regionals this weekend, Decatur coach Tim Mynarcik, who has been coaching the sport since 1997, said this class has already left an impressive legacy.
“We’ve had some good groups, but they’ve probably accomplished more at a regional and state level,” Mynarcik said. “They are definitely one of our best groups.”
Along with their talent, Mynarcik has been impressed with the group’s teamwork.
“Powerlifting can be an individual sport,” the Decatur coach said. “I’ve tried to promote the team side. They’ve learned to lift with each other and encourage each other. We work individually to achieve a team goal.”
They will take time to tighten each other’s wraps before lifts along with providing cheers and encouragement. Mynarcik points out that Cortez is known to show up even at meets he’s not lifting at to help.
“I’m everyone’s big brother,” said Cortez, who is ranked first in the region in the super heavyweight class with his 1,600-pound total.
Cortez, who finished sixth last year at state, wants another shot at moving toward the top in Texas. He enters the regional meet 120 pounds in front of second place. He is ranked eight in the state, 80 pounds back of third place.
“It should be a close meet at state,” he said.
The group’s close bonds will be tested by competition Saturday with Brown, Newville and Ramirez battling for two state bids out of the 123-pound class. Brown, the defending champion in the division, enters the region with the top total of 1,120 pounds. Newville, who hopes to return to the state meet for the first time since his sophomore year, is second at 950 pounds.
Ramirez, who went to state last year in the 114-pound division, is ranked fourth in the 123-pound class with his 865-pound tally.
“Dillan and I are used to it,” Newville said about the competition. “But we’ll work together and help each other. We’ve all been friends and have a history together.”
Brown, who was wearing his state title ring Thursday, said his goal is to get another one on his hand. That would put him in elite company and reserve a spot in the Texas High School Powerlifting Association’s Hall of Honor for multiple state champions.
Brown is confident he can do it, if he remains healthy through the next two meets.
“I expect people to be gunning for me,” he said. “But some of the competition moved up to bigger weight classes.”
A second state title would only add to this class’ strong legacy.