POWERLIFTING IS UNDERWAY IN NEW MEXICO fueled by New Mexico Gas Company
The music is cranking, the weights are clanging and the kids are pumping. Powerlifting is here.
Earlier this year, the NMAA announced powerlifting would become a virtual competition in the 2020-2021 school year. Competitions start this month and schools may conduct their lifts at any time throughout competition week.
“We wanted to give our kids an opportunity to do something while we are in the middle of this pandemic,” said NMAA Assistant Director of Sports Scott Owen. “We want to keep our kids engaged, doing something physical in a competitive atmosphere.”
“It gives them something to compete for now, since we don’t have any games this fall,” said Rio Rancho football coach Gerry Pannoni. “We have a chance to compete and it gets the kids excited.”
“This competition is like a payday for them,” said Lovington football coach Anthony Gonzales, whose Wildcats are also competing in powerlifting. “It’s huge! We thought we’d be able to watch our volleyball team and participate in cross country meets at this time of year, but everything has been changing. It’s been highs and lows, but THIS hasn’t been taken away from them. It’s boosted their morale.”
Schools will compete in the squat, bench press and deadlift. The competition is open to boys and girls with 12 different weight classes for each gender.
“When we test them, you see kids screaming and yelling for their teammate to get a weight which is cool,” said Pannoni.
The first-year Rio Rancho coach comes to New Mexico from out-of-state where he coached football and led powerlifting competitions in northern Virginia. “For years, I ran many of the powerlifting meets there and would have 400 kids,” said Pannoni. “We would also have like 30-40 girls competing, including three daughters of my own.”
Lovington High School plans to have some girls compete in powerlifting for their school. “We have three girls participating,” said Gonzales. “Two of them are part of our cheer team and one girl is a basketball player who also competes in track. I know they’re looking forward to showing all the hard work they put in.”
“I hope powerlifting becomes part of the normal athletic schedule,” said Pannoni. “It only adds to every program. The strength that you build in the weight room transitions to every sport.”