Miles Bulldogs make school history at state powerlifting meet in Abilene

Bill Hancock
Runnels County Register
Texas High School Powerlifting championships were held at the Taylor County Expo Center in Abilene on March 27. The Miles Bulldogs had 2 athletes qualify for state, Radek Spatz and Joel Garcia. Spatz took 3rd overall, winning the first powerlifting medal in the history of Miles High School.

The Taylor County Expo center was packed, from the arena floor to the nosebleed seats, on Saturday, Marc 27th. Hundreds of athletes, coaches, trainers and family members had gathered to watch the Texas High School Powerlifting Association's championship meet in Abilene.

The back of Miles High School athletic director Jayson Wilhelm's shirt. For the first time in school history, 2 athletes qualified for the state championships; Joel Garcia and Radek Spatz. Wilhelm is speaking to Garcia about his upcoming lift in the squats event.

Miles High School's Radek Spatz won the school's first medal at the state level when he took 3rd overall in 123 lbs class at the championship. Spatz competed alongside teammate Joel Garcia, who competed in the 242 lbs class and is one of the lightest in the class at 228 lbs. Garcia lifted a total of 1210 lbs, finishing 13th overall.

Miles Bulldogs' Radek Spatz squats 320 lbs in the first lift at the Texas High School State Powerlifting Association championships in Abilene on March 27th. Spatz took 3rd overall in the 123 lbs class, winning the school's first medal in powerlifting.

Several records were broken in various weight classes throughout the meet. The event consists of squats, bench press and dead lift. Overall, Spatz lifted 950 lbs, besting the 920 lbs he lifted at the regional meet.

Coach David Buitron and athletic director Jayson Wilhelm attended the meet with their athletes. Buitron has built a program that has been gaining in popularity since the school year started back in August. The popularity is due, in no small part, to the success the program has enjoyed, including having 14 athletes qualify for the regional competition. As for the state championship meet, "I believe that this is the first time in school history we've had athletes qualify for the state meet," Buitron commented.

Miles Bulldogs' Joel Garcia competed at the state powerlifting championships in Abilene on March 27th. Garcia, who weighs 228 lbs, competed in the 242 lbs division, placing 13th overall. Garcia and teammate Radek Spatz were the first athletes in the history of Miles High School to qualify for state in powerlifting.

The heart of the boys' program are Spatz and Garcia, who were both focused leading up to their lifts. Buitron says that all of the athletes currently in the program are laying a foundation, "This team is the foundation of the future for Miles powerlifting. We had 14 regional qualifies this year, the most in school history. This team exceeded all of my expectations. The season exceeded expectations in terms of the kids' buying in, working hard, and having fun. Our program is special and we're (staff) always there for the kids."

Miles Bulldogs' Radek Spatz squats 320 lbs in the first lift at the Texas High School State Powerlifting Association championships in Abilene on March 27th. Spatz took 3rd overall in the 123 lbs class, winning the school's first medal in powerlifting.

Buitron commented on Spatz in particular, "Radek has been on a mission to qualify for state since last year. He's worked hard and has been focused. He knew what he needed to accomplish to get here, and he did it."

Wilhelm has strongly supported the powerlifting program since coming in as the new athletic director in August, "I've never had an athlete complain to me about being too strong, or too fast. Powerlifting makes you better in everything. When I came in as AD, I put an emphasis on our kids being strong and fast. Coach Buitron knew that I fully supported his program and he's taken it to the next level. Before this year, I don't know if many of the students even knew where the weight room was. Now, we've got 8th graders coming up to us because they want to get into the program next year."

Miles Bulldogs' Joel Garcia competed at the state powerlifting championships in Abilene on March 27th. Garcia, who weighs 228 lbs, competed in the 242 lbs division, placing 13th overall. Garcia and teammate Radek Spatz were the first athletes in the history of Miles High School to qualify for state in powerlifting.

Spatz and Garcia watched other competitors as they got themselves into game mode. Their focus was laser-pointed, watching every move the other powerlifters made. You could see the wheels turning as Spatz and Garcia made mental notes and psyched themselves up. Spat's first lift was 320 lbs, which is over 2.5 times his 123 lbs body weight. His next lift was 355 lbs. His 3rd lift was a massive 375 lbs, over 3x his body weight.

Spatz was ranked 3rd in the weight class leading up to the championship meet, while Garcia was ranked 12th in his weight class.