The power of Paez

Female powerlifter makes history in State competition


Caden Rainwater

Senior Mariza Paez practices in the weight room with the girl’s powerlifting team prior to her State meet. Paez placed fifth overall at State.

Story by Peyton Sims, editor in chief

Mariza’s father Larry Paez competes in a State Powerlifting Competition for Abernathy High School. Paez’s father placed sixth in his high school meet, while Mariza beat his record by one spot, placing fifth.

After months of hard work, perseverance and nonstop dedication, one senior’s dreams finally came true. On March 20, senior Mariza Paez made Texas High history by being the first female powerlifter from our campus to not only make it to State, but to place. Paez placed fifth in the State Championship in Corpus Christi by lifting a total weight of 835 lbs: 375 lbs being in Squats, 170 lbs in Bench and 290 lbs in Deadlift. 

“To prepare for State, I lifted heavy weights three to four days out of the week for 30-45 minutes,” Paez said. “Considering the size of the State of Texas, the fact that I was able to place fifth out of everyone is a huge achievement for not only me, but for our school.” 

Paez is not the only one in her family to pursue powerlifting. When her father, Larry Paez, attended Abernathy High School, he also made State history by placing in his competition. 

“My father placed sixth in State when he was in high school. To have a role model like my dad in my life and being able to walk in his footsteps is a blessing,” Paez said. “It means the world to me that I am making him and my mother proud.” 

While the boy’s powerlifting team has been competing for years, the 2020-2021 school year marks the introduction of the girl’s powerlifting team. Considering this is the first time that girls have been able to participate, having Paez place is a tremendous accomplishment that makes its mark in TISD history. 

“When I started powerlifting at the beginning of the season, making it to State was my goal, so to be able to accomplish that is surreal,” Paez said. “I feel like this is an important accomplishment because it paves a way for all the other girls that are into lifting heavy and want to participate in the sport at Texas High. I hope that in the future, the school will continue to have powerlifting not just for strong boys, but for everyone.”

Out of the three female powerlifters that make-up this year’s team, two are seniors that will soon be graduating. In order to keep the girl’s powerlifting team alive, it’s important that underclassmen understand that this team represents more than just a sport. 

Powerlifting can mold you into a better student, athlete and citizen.

— Mariza Paez, senior powerlifter

“If you’re considering joining, certainly go for it. Powerlifting can be an adrenaline rushing, fun activity for anyone to compete in,” Paez said. “There is so much more to powerlifting than just lifting heavy weights. My favorite part about this sport are the memories I’ve made, the accomplishments established, and how I’ve found my place. The coaches taught me to always be myself and to aim high in life.”