This article originally appeared in the Friday July 26, 2019 issue of the Progress Times.
Sebastian Sanchez is not letting anything get in the way of the next chapter in his academic and athletic journey.
Sanchez signed a letter of intent to participate in powerlifting at Midland University, a NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) university in Fremont, Nebraska. Sanchez was surrounded by family, friends, former coaches and teammates when he signed on Wed. July 17 at Sharyland High School.
The powerlifting program at the university started in 2016, and has seen success in both their men’s and women’s teams. Both men and women from Midland University won raw titles at the 2019 USA Powerlifting Collegiate Nationals, and the men won the national championship back-to-back.
Sanchez is a one-year letter winner in powerlifting. In his senior year at SHS, he qualified to the 5A Regional Meet where he finished in 9th place with a total of 1,350 pounds.
Sanchez also qualified to the 5A State Meet, where he finished in 14th place with a total of 1,325 pounds.
“Sebastian has been a major contributor to the success that the SHS powerlifting team has had the last few seasons,” SHS Athletic Coordinator Ron Adame said. “He is a great example of what a student athlete is.”
The road to his success did not come easily Sanchez said, noting that he was removed from the powerlifting team for one year before returning as a senior. SHS Powerlifting Coach Joe Alex Leal confirmed that they took Sanchez off the team in order for him to raise his grades.
“He made a complete change in his life and where he wanted to go,” Leal said. “He asked me ‘Coach, what do I need to do to get to the state meet?’ and I said ‘here are your numbers. You decide what category you want to go in and we’ll go from there.’”
Leal said Sanchez put in the work, the time and discipline in the classroom to prepare himself for where he is going now.
“He made a change for the better, and that’s what we’re so excited about,” Leal said, adding that when his mother passed away recently, Sanchez reached out with a touching text message. “Sebastian was one of the ones that really touched my heart, so I really do appreciate him very much.”
“He’s going to do well,” Leal added. “He’s just beginning his powerlifting, we only had him for two years. I’m expecting a lot of good things for him.”
Sanchez said he wanted to thank God for his accomplishments so far.
“He gave me everything anyone could wish for: a great family, great coaches and great teammates,” Sanchez said.