The strength within Cleburne High School’s girls powerlifting is reflected in a new milestone, with a record seven qualifying for state. Cleburne, with a team of 22, finished in third place at the 5A-Region 2 Championships.
Representing Cleburne at the Texas High School Women’s Powerlifting State Meet on March 18 will be Audra Parsons, Morgan Marvell, Lizbeth Alegria, Kylee Grigsby, Lydia Guereca, Rose Moore and Mercedes Torres.
“It was a great day for lifting for us at the regional meet,” Girls Powerlifting Coach Jason Payne said. “We went against some of the toughest competition in the state. We had five more qualify for regionals than in the previous year and we are very proud of all our Yellow Jacket Lady Lifters.”
Qualifying for the state contest has weighed heavy on the heart of Alegria since the 2022 season, when she missed advancing out of regionals in coming in third. As a senior, her goal was to finish first at regionals, followed by a plan to take first at state.
“After failing in my lifts as a junior, I decided that would not happen this year,” she said. “I’ve been working harder—and smarter—in preparing for my last season in powerlifting. Going into regionals, I tried not to focus on the pressure of competing—and I also didn’t want to go in with too much confidence. All I could think about was getting stronger.”
Her months of work—and commitment—were showcased at the Region contest with Alegria achieving two superlative awards—Best Deadlift and Overall Top Lifter of the meet. In coming away with the gold in her weight class, she achieved 425 pounds in the squat, bench pressed 225 pounds and in the dead lift posted 390 pounds for a total weight tally of 1,040, setting a new regional record in her division.
“I always tried to find a sport that fit me best, but I never found anything—until I tried powerlifting in my sophomore year,” Alegria said. “It just clicked. I like the support I receive in this program from my teammates and coaches. I like how it feels when you have accomplished something you’ve never done before.”
The 17-year-old would like to continue to with competitive lifting in college—with Sam Houston State University at the top of her list. She is also a student in the high school’s certified nurse aide program and plans to study nursing.
Marvell, after winning in her weight division, will be competing at state for the third season. She is a 2022 defending champion. The same weekend she qualified for the state meet, she received All-State Cheerleader honors for the second year. Parsons, Guereca and Grigsby will also be among those returning to state again this year.
“On a side note,” Payne said, “We have had five of these seven state qualifiers for three or more years—and they are all seniors. To now see this next meet—the state meet—as their last in high school, that’s a little bittersweet for us as coaches. Times flies when you’re having fun and we will have them ready for one last powerlifting trip. We are proud in knowing they will always be Yellow Jackets.”