By Kevin Posival
Killeen Daily Herald
It came down to deadlift.
Luis Robles led Callisburg's Jacob Barton by just 10 pounds going into the final event.
"You may have to pull something you've never done before," Florence powerlifting coach Beau Barksdale told Robles.
"I don't care, I'm going to win it," Robles answered.
Robles lifted 575 pounds on the deadlift and 1,700 pounds total to win the Division III super heavyweight state title Saturday at the Taylor Expo Center in Abilene.
"I think part of my preparation was I knew this was it, this was the only chance I was going to get and that if anything went wrong, there were no make-ups," Robles said. "That's all I had was one chance and I made the best of it."
Barton was automatically disqualified for throwing down the bar following one of his deadlift attempts and Barton, a senior, won the state title in his only
appearance at the Texas High School Powerlifting Association state meet.
Robles benched 405 pounds and squatted 705 to lead Barton 1,125 pounds to 1,115 going into the deadlift.
"On the bench, he had a little technical mishap, but didn't let it stop him. 'I'm going to make it up in deadlift,' that's exactly what he told me. He wasn't going to let anything stop him," Barksdale said.
"The state meet is about who can overcome the pressure the best. Things are going to go wrong, things are not going to go your way thoughout the day and he faced that two or three times throughout the day, but he overcame it better than anybody else. That's how he did so well at the state meet."
Manuel Tijerina, of Jourdanton, finished second with 1,620 pounds and Thrall's Brian Cain finished third with 1,605.
"It was quite the experience because it was something I've been working for three, four years now," Robles said. "To finally earn that trip to Abilene and come away with a state championship - which is something that hasn't been done very much at Florence - that was a really good feeling for me. All my hard work finally paid off."
After Barton's disqualification, Robles' only real challenge left was his personal goal of lifting 1,700 total pounds.
For most of the season, his personal goals have most often been his best competition.
He won the super heavyweight class in every meet he attended this season, including larger school meets such as Waco Midway and Elgin.
After finishing seventh and fourth, respectively, at the region meets as a sophomore and junior, Robles won the Region II Division III meet this year to advance to his first state powerlifting meet.
"I realized everything, every squat I'd ever done, every bench I'd ever done, every workout I'd done over the past four years helped contribute to this one day, when it all finally paid off," Robles said. "The first thing I did was went up into the stands, found my mom and told her thank you for putting up with me and for helping to get me where I am today."