For the first time in the district’s history, the school now has a competitive powerlifting team.
Sean Connor, in his first year at Milano, has started up the program and is excited about what it will bring to the student athletes and the school.
“I hope to keep the kids interested and competitive,” Connor said.
The 37-year-old coach is in his first year at Milano and also serves as an assistant football coach. He teaches history at the high school as well.
Conner knows the kids need discipline in the powerlifting aspect and can give them that through experience.
He served in the United States Marine Corps from 1990- 93.
He worked in the commercial refrigeration business for 13 years before going to Texas A&M University and earning his double degree in history and geography.
For the Class A school, just four boys and 12 girls came out for the sport’s inaugural year at MHS.
The group practices for an hour after school each day in the school’s large weight room. The equipment is both old and new, but Connor said any donations would be great.
“The equipment is sufficient, but we could use a few more items here,” Connor said.
As there is with anything new, the powerlifting team has faced a couple of problems.
“There was no funding, but the school was able to find a little,” Connor said. The group also held a couple of bake sales to help purchase equipment which the coach said the community responded great to.
The team’s uniforms did not arrive as promised and finally made it to the school on Monday. There was a problem with the order, but hopes are all uniform issues will be taken care of by the weekend.
Powerlifting is not a UIL sanctioned contest and is conducted through the Texas High School Powerlifting and Texas High School Women’s Powerlifting associations.
The number of Class A schools participating in powerlifting varies each year, but is usually 75- 100 statewide, according to Ted Patton with the THSPA. They will compete in Region II/Division III with athletes from all classifications.
The sport of powerlifting is an individual contest as each athlete will get three lifts on each event of squat, bench press and dead lift. The added total of their best lift in each apparatus is their score and will determine the individual’s placing.
There are also different weight classes for boys and girls divisions. Lifters are weighed in at each meet to determine their weight classes.
Powerlifting season runs from January to March, with lifters trying to earn spots at regionals and then state through weekend lifting meets.
In order to reach the regional meet, lifters must be in the top 10 of their weight class within the region, Connor said. From there, the top two in each weight class from each region will advance to the state meet.
Connor said there is also an automatic lift total that will get a lifter to the state meet, but that number changes each year.
Milano powerlifters Andrew Evans and Christin Catalina, both seniors, are excited to get things rolling.
“It’s exciting being in something new,” Catalina said. “It is something new to compete in.” Her favorite event is the squat where she’s maxed out at 200 pounds.
“I hope this can help me be stronger in softball and help me be more competitive,” she said.
Evans agrees with the getting stronger aspect of the sport and hopes it will get him a future in the collegiate sports spectrum.
“I like it a lot and I like the competitive drive it gives me to get stronger for college football,” Evans said. He has yet to sign with any college to play the sport.”
Evans also understands that being a senior in a new sport also puts some pressure on him and his fellow 12th graders.
“I’ve got to be a role model for the underclassman and show them how to compete,” Evans said.
The Eagle and Lady Eagle lifters will have three chances to earn their spots at regionals. The team will compete in its first ever meet in Cameron on Saturday, Jan. 16.