Powerlifting: Building lifting legacy – Chico girls eye more state bids

By Travis Lisle | Published Saturday, February 28, 2015
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Among the many things that make the Chico girls powerlifting team one of the best groups in the state, it’s discipline that keeps them at the top.

Last season, seniors Heidi Spann and Jordan Vidal, along with juniors Alli York and Anna Rodriguez, medaled at the Texas High School Women’s Powerlifting Association state meet.

This year, Chico hopes to send eight lifters to the state meet.

Medal Collecting

MEDAL COLLECTING – The Chico girls powerlifting team has been a powerhouse this spring. The team hopes to send eight lifters to state after Monday’s regional meet. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

As Chico coach Heath Tullous and his four previous state medalists prepare for the regional meet and the state meet, discipline is one thing they all keep on their minds.

“Start low and make sure your form is there,” Rodriguez said. “You just want to put something on the board. As long as you have a number, you’re good. Then you work your way up.”

A lot of lifters start with too much weight and find themselves disqualified because they lack form and discipline.

“A lot of times, we train without weight or with very little weight,” Vidal said. “Getting that form right is a big deal for us.”

Tullous says that it usually takes a year to get down the proper form, especially for squat. With experienced lifters, Chico is ahead of the game.

As the success and the lifters have progressed through the years, Tullous says they can focus on different aspects of lifting.

From powerlifting suits to working on minor adjustments and techniques, the Chico team has advanced to the finer points of the sport.

“A lifter’s suit is a lot like golf clubs,” Tullous said. “You don’t want to get a new or inexperienced lifter in a really advanced suit. You kind of have to work your way up. That being said, a really talented lifter can see a lot of benefit from a strong suit.”

Chico has also added coach Tim Mynarcik, who was formerly the head powerlifting coach in Decatur. Tullous says that he is one of the better coaches in the state and adds a lot of knowledge and confidence to the group.

“This is a very coachable group,” he said. “What makes this group different is that they’re coming in with confidence. We get to show up to a meet as the team to beat. Especially since we’re Chico and we’re a smaller school, that’s a fun experience.”

The Chico lifters try to stay focused on themselves and doing their personal best, knowing that it will eventually get them where they want to go.

“You really want to try and worry about yourself,” York said. “If you lose that focus you can find yourself with bad form and technique. A lot of that has to do with having confidence in what your training and your experience.”

Occasionally, the lifters do run into stiff competition and must turn some of their attention to what other lifters are doing.

“Sometimes you have to get a lift to advance or win,” she said. “That’s when I feel like I’m at my best. When I really have to go head-to-head or push myself.”

Whatever the circumstance demands, the battle-tested group is ready to answer the call.

As for the future of Chico powerlifting, Tullous says that he has a strong supply of lifters coming down the line and doesn’t see an end to his school’s dominance in sight.

If they continue to succeed, Chico could be one of the first schools to become a powerlifting powerhouse. Of course that all depends on the ability to sustain a high performance level.

That will be put to the test when the girls team competes at regionals Monday at Wylie High School, and how they finish at the state meet in late March.

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