Weightlifter Wins State

How weightlifting changed a student, but more importantly, how a student changed weightlifting

Weightlifter+Wins+State

Janelle De Jesus, Feature Editor

Martinez, third from left, with the other finalists at the state competition in Corpus Christi on March 20.

On March 20, senior Leksi Martinez set out to the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi to bring home the gold for her school. Martinez, who had a successful year thus far, had not only the weight of 300 pounds on her shoulder, but the weight of all of her at home fans cheering her on as everyone hoped she would come back victorious.

“I walked into the arena and it was huge.” Martinez said. “I had no idea what to do, where to go, and felt like a freshman wandering the halls for the first time. The one thing I did know was that no matter what, I was determined to win.”

Though I would like to give all of the credit to Martinez, she is very open about having a good support system by her side. Doing something as hard and tedious as any high school activity — especially ones that involve heavy lifting, requires support. Whether that be lumbar support, or coach’s pep talks, Martinez had it covered. 

“My mom is my biggest supporter, she never misses an activity and has helped me get to where I am today. Another influence are some family friends of mine, they helped me out in ways you can’t imagine.” Martinez said. “Something I’d like to say to them is thank you for always having my back. Lastly my coaches, they have never given up on me, from messing around to crying on the floor feeling discouraged about the weight on the bar, they stood behind me.”

It is especially good to have support, Martinez discusses that. But, every success has its failure. Martinez discusses the feeling of not being able to match numbers from her previous season. But, when accomplished, the bittersweet feeling kicked in. 

“I was at my second meet of the season and had yet to make a PR.” Martinez said. “I was losing weight left to right and felt myself sinking. That was, until the last meet of the season. I walked up to the platform ready to get this bar off the floor, set up, looked down and pulled a 370 pound deadlift. A new personal record finally. That feeling is something that cannot be matched.”

Through her ups and downs of her lifting career, Martinez pulled through. She won a Best Lifter award at every meet, broke her own PR, left her competitors speechless, made her fans proud, and even brought home the gold for her small hometown. Martinez sealed the deal, and this was the perfect ending to this chapter in her life. But, despite that, Martinez is not finished. This state champion plans to continue her career at The University of Texas at San Antonio — UTSA, where she was hand picked by a female recruiter to compete in the collegiate level. 

“College lifting is a lot different than high school lifting.” Martinez said. “In college you can choose between raw lifting (lifting with no gear) and equipped lifting (lifting with gear.) I will be an equipped lifter in the 84 kilograms class at UTSA.”

After an outrageous season, Martinez is happy with the legacy she is leaving behind. Martinez is happy, healthy, and is sure to thrive out of her college years. One final congratulations from us to her, and we wish were well as she continues her journey. 

“This sport helped me find myself and helped mold me into the athlete I am now.” Martinez said.