THREE RIVERS — Symantha Flores and Carle Straube took radically different paths, but both became state powerlifting champions this month as the Three Rivers High School Lady Bulldog Powerlifting Team placed third out of 52 1A teams in the state.
Symantha, 17, a junior, was the head cheerleader type who played volleyball, basketball — as well as being a national honor society student who competed on the debate team. After all of that scholastic activity, she would go to powerlifting workouts.
Carle, a 16-year-old sophomore, kept a rigid schedule. She woke up at 5 a.m. each day to start her powerlifting practice by 6 a.m. before school started. Along the way, she participated in volleyball, softball, track, rocket club, the UIL science team and she was in the top 10 percent of her class.
The sum of their victories comprised a very proud moment for their Coach, Carl Straube. He is Three Rivers High School’s offensive coordinator in football, head powerlifting coach and assistant track coach. It’s his fifth year in Three Rivers and 23rd year coaching overall.
“I am extremely proud of these girls and their accomplishments,” Coach Straube said.
The powerlifting championship was held at the American Banks Center in Corpus Christi on March 14 and 15. As many as 550 of the strongest girls in the state 1A-5A competed in that event.
When it came down to brass tacks, the 5-foot-tall Symantha competed in the 97.5-pound weight class with a 230 squat, a 105 bench, and a 265 deadlift — 600 pounds total. Carle, at 5 feet 3 inches, competed in the 123.5-pound weight class with a 305 squat, a 125 bench, and a 285 deadlift — 715 pounds total.
Symantha was tasked with taking down the defending state champion.
“She hit all her third lifts to do it,” the coach said. “It was an amazing moment to witness.”
Carle was dominant over the rest of the field during the competition.
“She had such a commanding lead after the squat it was gut wrenching just waiting to get to the end,” the coach said. “… By the time her third deadlift came around it was all over. She did not attempt her third deadlift, which is similar to taking a knee in football when the game is out of hand.”
Full disclosure: The coach is Carle’s dad.
Coach Straube said being a coach and being Carle’s dad entails a lot of laughing, crying, yelling and screaming — but they get through it for the better.
“You try to leave everything in the weight room but sometimes it does spill over,” he said laughing,
Carle feels she has truly earned her victory.
“I like the title of being one of the strongest girls in the state of Texas,” she said. “I like pushing myself, knowing that I can do more.”
Symantha said she is grateful to Coach Straube for pushing her to excel in weightlifting.
“I guess you don’t expect little people to lift like I do,” Symantha said with a wry smile. “I was really shy when I started and really didn’t know what I could do. But Carle’s dad kept pushing me to succeed.”
Coach Straube had one thing left to say.
“It’s a great day to be a Bulldog.”