In the sport of powerlifting, a competitor’s strength is tested by attempting a maximal weight on 3 lifts: squat, bench press, and deadlift. Each stage of the competition requires that the participant use different muscles and parts of their bodies to endure lifting the most weight possible to beat out the competition.

For Palmview High School student, Felissa Ponce De Leon, being involved in powerlifting has led her to lift more weight than she ever thought possible and become the new state champion in her weight class.

During last week’s Texas High School Women’s Powerlifting Association (THSWPA) girl’s state meet (held in Waco, TX), Felissa squatted 450 lbs., bench pressed 220 lbs., and deadlifted an astounding 405 lbs. for a combined total of 1,075 lbs. The impressive lifts allowed Ponce De Leon to earn the first place in the 6A, 148 lb. weight class division and bring home the gold!

“I feel very accomplished with the win,” said Felissa. “My goal when the season began was to break my own record – and I did. Then I set myself a new goal: to win 1st at state – and I did that too – so, accomplished is definitely the feeling!” she added.

The Lobo Senior first participated in shotput and discus during her Sophomore year when she also gained an interest in lifting weights. That year, she trained in all 3 sports and later decided to dedicate herself solely on powerlifting for the following year as a Junior. Fortunately, her decision to focus on powerlifting paid off as she has now set new state records in both the squat and deadlift (in her division) – leaving her mark in the sport even after graduation.

“3 years of hard work, strict dieting, and dedication have allowed Felissa to get to the top,” coach Renzo Tamez said about Ponce De Leon’s achievement. “She works out early every morning and late every afternoon … she loves it! and we are all so very proud of her.”

Since the season opener in early January, Felissa went undefeated for the entire 6 invitational meets that followed. Originally competing in the 165lb. weight class, she gradually lost 2 lbs. a week to get to the current division and win it all at state!

“One thing I will always remember about my coach is him saying: “Pick up your hand at look at your fingers. They’re all different, but together they work as a team.” referring to us in the powerlifting team, and how together we can accomplish our goal,” Felissa stated. “ I thank my coach and my teammates for supporting me in my journey – I wouldn’t have reached so high without them.”

Congratulations to our state champ on her victory and for making La Joya ISD and our community proud!