Mission High School’s Vaneliy Guerrero thought her powerlifting career was over before the season even began. She suffered a major injury to her right knee during a wrestling match and it was the kind of injury that should’ve made it impossible for her to compete in powerlifting this season.
Guerrero was not about to let that happen.
“I tore my ACL and my meniscus in district wrestling,” explained Guerrero. “It was during my last match for third place. The doctors wanted to take out my meniscus and replace it with a new one right away, but there’s a certain amount of time that you have to wait to recover from that surgery and I knew that if I had that done I would miss the entire powerlifting season. That’s why I decided to wait until after powerlifting was over to have the surgery done.”
As it turns out Guerrero made the right decision. Not only was she able to powerlift without her meniscus, but she won the silver medal at the Texas High School Women’s Powerlifting Association’s (THSWPA) state meet in Corpus Christi last week.
“I was nervous and scared at the same time,” said Guerrero about competing at the state meet. “I was scared of bombing out. I came super close to doing that at the regional meet. But when I found out that I had placed second, I was so proud of myself. The fact that I was able to overcome my knee injury, which was a huge obstacle, and still medal at state made it all that much more meaningful.”
Guerrero was not the only member of the Mission High girls powerlifting team that medaled at Corpus last week. All three of the Lady Eagles that qualified for state medaled.
Guerrero’s teammates Sally Ochoa and Estephany Gonzalez placed second and third respectively in their weight classes to make it three-for-three for the Lady Eagles at the state meet. Ochoa in the 181-lb. weight class and Gonzalez in the 132-lb. weight class.
“I was really happy and excited when I found out that I had medaled at state,” said Gonzalez. “While I wasn’t expecting to place at regionals, I was still disappointed when I didn’t medal. As a result I didn’t think I’d do too well at state.
“After my squat I was in eighth place,” added Gonzalez. “That was when Coach (Roy) Pena told me that I’d have to bench press 145 lbs. if I wanted to move up in the rankings and possibly medal. So he got that into my head and that’s what I did.”
As a junior last year Ochoa failed to even qualify for regionals. This year, she not only qualified but she won the regional championship before going on to take the silver medal at state. Describing what made the difference between this year and last Ochoa said, “My hard work and dedication and, of course, my coach are the difference. We’ve never had a coach that pushed us and was there for us every single morning – even during football season. Coach Peña never took a break from us, all during the summer until now.”
As a team the Lady Eagles placed fourth out of 44 teams. With the team rankings being determined by accumulating the total scores of each teams’ members, the fact that Mission placed fourth with only three members when every team above them had eight or nine members on their teams was quite an accomplishment.
Juarez-Lincoln High School was the only other Big 7 6-A team to have girls qualify for the state meet. Of the Lady Huskies three state qualifiers, Valeria Banda was the only one to medal when she placed third in the 148-lb. weight class. Yesenia Gaytan placed sixth in the 220-lb. weight class and Elena Zamora placed eighth in the 165 lb. weight class as well. As a team the Lady Huskies placed 14th at state.