JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF
BURNET — Burnet High School powerlifter Desiree Vajgrt made her final year count.
The senior will be making her first appearance at the Texas High School Women’s Powerlifting Association state meet March 20 at the American Bank Center, 1901 N. Shoreline Blvd. in Corpus Christi. Last year, she was fifth at regionals.
“It’s pretty exciting,” she said about powerlifting. “It’s a lot of fun. It’s something that de-stresses me.”
Vajgrt is in her third year of powerlifting. The Lady Dawgs implement a weight program during the athletics period, which is where coaches noticed Vajgrt’s ability.
So they told powerlifting head coach Andy McHazlett.
It didn’t take long for McHazlett to see what the Lady Dawgs coaches were talking about. In fact, McHazlett and Vajgrt’s mother, Cherene McFarland, are the ones who told the athlete she has the tools to advance to the state meet.
“(McHazlett) helped me a lot,” she said. “He’s been on my case about going to state. My mom believes in me. She knows I can win at state.”
The state meet will be held during the final weekend of Spring Break. Some coaches might view that as a disadvantage, but not McHazlett.
He said Vajgrt’s best asset is eating the correct foods and resting to fuel her body so it performs at its best when it matters most.
“Rest is as good as anything,” the coach said. “She can get a lot of sleep.”
Vajgrt will compete in the 220-pound class with at least 16 other lifters. She qualified for the state meet after lifting a total of 890 pounds at the regional meet March 2, which was 75 more pounds than the amount she began lifting at the beginning of the season. That’s a 375-pound squat, a 175-pound bench press and a 340-pound dead lift.
But it’s not enough to be able to lift weight, McHazlett said. Powerlifting also is about being technically sound, and each lift will be judged differently, he added.
In the bench press, athletes have to start with the bar on their chests. They must lift the bar evenly, lock at the elbows to keep the bar still and place the bar on the rack when judges tell them to while keeping their feet still and flat on the floor.
In the squat, the hips have to be lower than the knees and the feet can’t move, while the dead lift requires bending at the knees to lift the bar with one swift movement.
“Anything can happen at the state meet,” McHazlett said. “I’ve seen girls go there ranked real high, and they don’t do well. For (Vajgrt) to medal, she’s going to have to get after it. We’re going in with nothing to lose.”