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Cobra lifters carry tradition into girls state meet

By Beth Foley

Staff Writer


Tradition continues this week as the Industrial Cobras girls powerlifters are headed to the Texas High School Women’s Powerlifting Association state meet in Frisco for a 12th consecutive year.

But only one of the five who qualified this year have competed at all before this season and none beyond district last year, meaning that the group will be setting new expectations for themselves inside the framework of the program’s excellence. 

Junior Autumn Kallus lifted last year. Joining her in Frisco at the state meet will be first-year lifters junior Desiree Alaniz and freshmen Miley Alaniz, Lyniah Evans, and Kyleigh Pawlik. 

Kallus qualified for state in the 148-pound class, lifting 300 pounds in squat, 205 in bench, and 295 in deadlift for a regional winning total of 800 pounds. Desiree Alaniz finished second in the 148s with 265/200/305 for a total of 770 pounds.

Her sister Miley won the 123s with 280/155/275 for a 710 total. Pawlik finished second in the 97s with 150/90/105 for a total of 405, and Evans finished second in the 242s with 325/185/280 for a total of 790.

Thanks to their efforts and those of teammates who also lifted, the Cobras won the Region 4 Class 3A team title at the meet in Bay City.

“This is a unique group of girls,” Industrial coach Cody Carnes said. “They work hard and love to lift. There is never a complaint on what is asked of them.”

While the freshmen had lifted for strength training in junior high athletics, they hadn’t lifted for competition before reaching ninth grade.

“In junior high I used to act like lifting was nothing and I didn’t really do a lot,” Evans said. “Then I got to high school and they needed me. I was actually really surprised I could do that much because I would always do little weights and I would be like, oh, I’m not even that strong. But then my sister (multi-sport athlete Deziree Evans) told me I was actually pretty strong for junior high, going into high school.”

Pawlik had been focused on cheerleading, but opted to add powerlifting because she enjoyed working with weights.

“I just always liked to lift weights,” Pawlik said. “It was something I wanted to try. I just felt like I’d come a long way from junior high, so I thought, why not?”

Making it past the regional meet wasn’t something many of them expected, but it was exciting.

“I knew I was somewhat strong so I just thought, hey, I can make it to regionals, but I never thought I would make it to state until some girls were bombing out or not getting the weight they were supposed to,” Desiree Alaniz said. “I saw on the score sheet how they lifted and (knew by) the numbers that I was close, so then I thought, okay, I have a chance here.

“I was very excited. I never thought that I was going to go to state. Once I did learn, I was like okay, now we’re focusing on the next step, trying to process everything. I was definitely excited.”

Miley Alaniz knew she was one of the stronger girls but she didn’t know what she was really capable of until she cleared her mind and focused on her coaching at the regional meet.

“I was getting in my head a lot,” Miley Alaniz said. “I knew (judging) was stricter but when I listened to my coaches, I was just like, okay, I got this. I knew I had the totals. I knew I could get the totals for state and I knew I had them before, so after squatting I wasn’t really nervous anymore.”

But learning that she made state in her first year still hit hard.

“I was pretty shocked,” she said. “I was really excited especially because I’m a freshman getting to go to state in my weight class.”

With a year’s experience behind her and a desire for success, Kallus began training in earnest once volleyball was finished. 

“This year I was really able to start putting on (greater) weight and believing in myself that I can lift that in order to train to get those totals,” said Kallus, who has been focused on setting a new state record for bench. “I’ve been improving on all my lifts, especially bench. The record for state 148 class bench is 225 and I have hit 225 and a little bit more in practice, so I’m hoping to actually do that in the meet, as well.”

While they may be inexperienced, the five made up for it with their work ethic and technique to come out of a regional known for its strict judging, Carnes said.

“Over 30 percent of the lifters bomb out, so making it through the meet is an accomplishment alone,” Carnes said. “With that being said, our girls have much more in them compared to other regions. 

“Our goal is to medal this year and that is getting them to the top five. We have had lifters at the state meet for twelve years running and these girls will keep that tradition alive. They have set the bar high and I believe they will only raise that mark in years to come.”

Jackson County Herald Tribune

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