Three female powerlifters from both Paris and North Lamar High Schools earned the right to compete on the highest stage of UIL competition. Juniors Emma Doyal and Kamry Oliver along with sophomore Hannah Titlow of North Lamar will compete at state as will state qualifier T.K. Marshall and regional champions Enchantra Roberson and Rayn Hayden of Paris High School.
For Titlow, a newcomer to the state competition, the journey to Waco featured both thrill and surprise as she pushed herself to new heights.
“We were going to do a 315-pound deadlift, and the girl I was tied with before regionals, we were about the same but I weighed like seven pounds less than her,” North Lamar junior powerlifter Hannah Titlow said. “She kept trying to bump over me to beat me, so we had to lift 315 and 320 pounds — I haven’t lifted either of those weights before. When the time actually came to do it, I didn’t think about it. I just did it. The girl I competed against was two or three after me, and I didn’t even want to look. When I did, she was just stuck. The judge told her to put the weights down, it was all three red lights and we all started screaming.”
Oliver is also a first-time state competitor and shared the fuel to her fire in being so close last year to getting over the hump this year. The strength she gained with her lifting and her bonds with teammates were catalysts in her quest to Waco.
“I was five pounds away from state last year, and it was really hard because I worked all year to get to 275 (pounds) and couldn’t lift it to go to state,” North Lamar junior powerlifter Kamry Oliver said. “Now, I deadlift way more than 275 — I start with more than that when I warm up. Having my team this year, I’m really close to them and they have pushed me to work way harder.”
As for the lone returner Doyal, who is the top-ranked lifter in her region in her respective class, the trip to Waco to compete at the state meet will be especially exciting considering the bond she has with her teammates this year.
“Last year, it wasn’t as fun for me because I didn’t really have anyone,” Pantherettes junior powerlifter Emma Doyal said. “I liked the person I went with, but I wasn’t as close with her as I am to my friends I am going with this year. I’m really excited that we can go together and represent our school together.”
Matt Green helped guide the Lady Wildcat powerlifters to a crack at state championships with diligent regiments across the board. As a coach, seeing your athletes excel is rewarding, but watching them earn success and work hard are both priceless.
“Throughout the year our athletes weight train for their chosen sport,” Green said. “Our boys and girls lift throughout the summer and during their in season and offseason cycles to stay strong, fast and to become injury resistant. They have put in many hours and this is part of that reward. All of our powerlifters are involved in some other sport. Whether that is track, baseball, softball, volleyball, soccer, basketball or football. They are all multi-sport kids and I believe that’s what helps them succeed in powerlifting.”
Getting to this stage is far from easy, as Green knows how hard the girls needed to work, so they did just that.
“What I am proud of most is their resilience through the years of having a team of four or five to having 16 girls make it to the Regional level this year,” Green said. “Powerlifting has grown on the boys side and substantially on the girls side, in part because of the change in the perspective of lifting weights for girls. Before I arrived at Paris and took the position of Strength and Conditioning Coordinator, outside of football, our sports didn’t really train to the level we do now year around. Our freshmen come in during the summer, with a base level of weight room experience and knowledge from our Junior High program, and slowly get integrated into our high school program. Each sport has their own training cycle because of when their season is, but each sport does a lot of the same exercises with volume and duration of the workout varying. When it comes to powerlifting, if they have developed a passion for the weight room, we then look at if they are ready to compete safely and if they have the strength level yet to do so.”
The state meet will begin at 8 a.m. March 20 in Waco at the Extraco Events Center located at 4601 Bosque Blvd. The state meet will run through Saturday, March 21.