By Vicky Gao.

Twelve athletes competed at the March 27 Regional powerlifting meet, earning an eighth place finish as a team, with individual places ranging from second to eleventh. With a second place win in the 275 class, junior Bradley Byrne will advance to the state meet.

The boys’ powerlifting season, altered like so many other things this year due to the pandemic, began Friday, Jan. 22, with the first meet of the season in the AHS weight room.

“It’s usually about three meets that we do,” junior Zach Killam said. “You’ve just got to get better each time, and if you do good enough you get to go to regionals. Then it goes on from there to state.”

Powerlifting has made it to regionals every year and have had at least one person go to state for 19 consecutive years. The make-up of regionals looked a little different due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and 23-year veteran Coach Tommy Martinezcut down the number of powerlifters to twenty-four.

“We usually have a lot more, 48 to 60,” Martinez said, “but because of Covid we’re having to cut the numbers down for the boys.”

The meets, adhering to Covid guidelines, will have limited spectators this year. The lifters will have to wear masks at all times except for when actually competing.

“There won’t be any fans watching, it’ll just be on your own mostly,” Killam said, “You just have to get support from your teammates like always and rely on yourself.”

The team is composed of an array of sophomores to seniors this year, and despite limitations and changes, the camaraderie of these powerlifters has remained.

 “Everyone is chill with each other,” sophomore Nick Garcia said. “Everyone knows that you lift your weight, and that’s what you can do. No one’s going to throw you down because you can’t lift that much.”

Many boys migrate to powerlifting after the football season ends.

“For the boys, it’s just the continuation of our football program and our other athletic programs,” Martinez said. “We’re excited about getting to lift and compete and trying to get overall stronger.”