MIDLAND, Texas (KMID/KPEJ) – Far from the area’s most popular sport, many of the top powerlifters in Midland decided to try it out after playing a different sport.

Some didn’t exactly take it seriously.

“It was more or less like a rebound sport,” said Midland Legacy senior Joyce Oakley who had played soccer before trying powerlifting. “That mentality changed as soon as I went to my first meet.”

“I was just kind of fooling around, seeing what it was like. Once I went to my very first meet, I realized ‘Wow this is amazing, this is definitely something I want to continue out with,” said Midland Legacy senior Hayden Becerra who played football before deciding to compete in powerlifting full-time.

The recent regional meets have produced big wins for both the Legacy and Midland High powerlifting teams. The schools combined to have ten lifters qualify for the state meet and debunked some misconceptions along the way.

“Us as girls, we can show that we’re strong. We can show that we can lift a lot,” said Midland Legacy senior Verenice Perez. “People that are from here are strong and can compete.”

“I’m small and I like people [to] think that I’m not as strong,” said Midland Legacy senior Danika Rickard. “Everyone here is super nice. I like the whole aura of just being in the weight room.”

“It’s crazy because there’s smaller girls that lift a lot and bigger girls that lift a lot,” said Midland Legacy senior Maiah Rubio. “It just depends on you.”

Although powerlifting is an individual sport, having a team makes it better.

“They really push me to want to be better and do better and they’re really awesome,” said Midland High sophomore Izabella Granado. “If you have the option to do it, do it because it’s an amazing program.”

“My teammates are really nice and I like how they push me and cheer me on,” said Midland Legacy senior Perla Vega. “I enjoy lifting with them.”

The state meet offers lifters a chance to represent their community in front of the best in Texas, an opportunity that’s not lost on those representing Midland.

“It means a lot to me because I’ve been here for a long time, more than ten years, so it’s good to get to represent your area,” said Midland High senior John Martinez-Guedry.

“I’m not just representing Midland High, I’m representing myself, my last name, the school, and where I’m from,” said Midland High sophomore Victoria Reyes. “I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t who I was.”

“It gives younger athletes people to look up to,” said Midland High powerlifting head coach Eric Jonas. “This draws attention to John, Victoria, Izabella and so on our side, but as well I know they’ve got some strong lifters over at Legacy.”

“As we begin to set records and as we begin to push each other and as we get quality coaching… it’s going to make the entire region a lot better,” said Midland Legacy powerlifting head coach Boe Smith. “It’s already made Midland a lot better too.”

The Girls State meet began earlier today at the Comerica Center in Frisco. The Boys State meet will be on March 25th at the Taylor County Expo Center in Abilene.

The following are the MISD athletes competing in the State meets:



Victoria Reyes – 114 lbs class
Izabella Granado – 198 lbs class


Danika Rickard – 97 lbs class
Maiah Rubio- 105 lbs class
Perla Vega – 105 lbs class
Olivia Knight – 148 lbs class
Joyce Oakley – 165 lbs class
Verenice Perez – 181 lbs class



John Martinez-Guedry – Super heavyweight class


Hayden Becerra – 275 lbs class

Midland High is coached by Eric Jonas with assistant coaches Paul Martinez and Trevor Townsend.

Midland Legacy is coached by Boe Smith with assistant coaches Will Murchison and Brandon Allen.