Miles Bulldogs make school history at state powerlifting meet in Abilene
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.
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.
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.
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."
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."
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.