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Floresville powerlifter Saldaña finishes fifth in state
Floresville High School junior Jonathan Saldaña shows off a couple of the medals he won this year while competing in the sport of powerlifting. Saldaña won a total of three gold medals during the 2011 season, finished second in the regional meet, and finished fifth overall at the state meet.
ABILENE -- As powerlifters from surrounding schools were busy making headlines, Floresville High School junior powerlifter Jonathan Saldaña quietly went about his season. There was little talk of the young man who tips the scales at 300 pounds and competes in the super heavy weight division, but after winning medals at every meet in which he competed, and finishing the year with a fifth-place showing at the state meet, it’s time the powerlifter and defensive lineman for the Floresville Tigers was recognized.
During his first meet of the year, Saldaña competed at Southside High School, and finished first in the super heavy weight class with a total weight of 1,540 pounds. During the meet, the Floresville junior strongman turned in a bench press of 315 pounds, a dead lift of 550 pounds, and a truly impressive squat of 675 pounds.
One month later, Saldaña was back at Southside, and he had no trouble claiming his second first-place finish of the year. He won gold by finishing with a total weight of 1,585 pounds. He improved his bench press to 340 pounds, increased his dead lift by 20 pounds to 570, and kept his squat at 675 pounds.
A week later, Saldaña was back in action, this time in Goliad, where he claimed his third first-place finish in as many attempts. He bench pressed 355 pounds -- an improvement of 15 pounds, turned in a dead lift of 570 pounds, and improved his squat to 700 pounds for a total lift of 1,625 pounds.
With three first-place medals under his belt, Saldaña turned his attention to the Region V Division 1 meet, where the level of competition increased dramatically. Still, he did a good job, and left Weslaco on March 12 with a second-place finish in the super heavy weight division.
During the regional meet, Saldaña’s bench press fell to 345 pounds, and his dead lift slipped to 550. He was able to maintain his 700-pound squat, though, and left the meet with a total weight of 1,595 pounds. It wasn’t his best effort of the year, but it earned him a silver medal and a trip to the state competition.
Saldaña, along with Floresville Powerlifting Coach Phillip Zwicke, traveled to Abilene to compete in the state meet March 26. Saldaña turned in season-best lifts in the bench press and squat, but slipped to a season low in the dead lift. His bench press was good at 365 pounds; his squat was the best in the state at 725 pounds, but his dead lift of 545 pounds cost him in the final standings. In total, Saldaña hit a season-high of 1,635 pounds -- a total good enough to take home fifth-place honors.
“I was pleased,” Zwicke said. “Our goals were to beat the guy at state who had beaten us at regionals, and to medal at state. Jonathan did both those things.”
While it was his second year in competition, it was a first for Saldaña to compete in the state meet. He said he loved the experience, and will be working hard to return next year.
“It was awesome,” Saldaña said. “The environment was great.”
He went on to credit Zwicke for his success, and said he knows they have a legitimate shot at winning the state title next season.
“I have high hopes for him next year,” Zwicke said. “This was sort of his ‘coming-out party.’ Next year the goal is going to be to win state.”
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