Casarez stands barely over five feet tall but can lift hundreds of pounds. For the second year in a row, he took first place at the Boys State Meet-Division 3 for the 123-pound weight class. The meet took place in Abilene on March 24.
“Becoming a state champ is hard; doing it twice puts Michael in a whole different class of lifters,” Coach Carl Straube said. “No on can ever take away the back-to-back state titles and the prestige that comes with it.”
His total lifted weight was 1,075 pounds. He bench pressed 205, dead lifted 425 and squatted 445 pounds.
When asked how he felt about holding a state record, he said, “It feels pretty awesome.”
“I never thought I would be able to pick up this much weight at all,” Casarez said.
He gives partial credit of his win to friend and “manager” Daniel Diaz.
“If it wasn’t for him, I would have lost,” he said
He said when he started athletics as a freshman he could bench press 90 pounds and squat 100 pounds.
“Coach Straube told me my sophomore year he would like to see me in powerlifting and I told him I would give it a try,” Casarez said.
The try he made his senior year paid off; in addition to two state titles, he also holds all three records for the school in his weight class and he holds a regional record in his weight class for squat.
Casarez has been lifting weights religiously since January, including during part of Christmas break and spring break, to get ready for his season.
“During spring break, I really didn’t want to come to practice but I had to think of how to win state,” Casarez said.
His typical practices last more than two hours. He said there are 12 different exercises that he does over the course of the two hours. He also lifts weights at home.
To get ready for the state meet and all the invitationals (meets leading up to state), Casarez not only has to lift weights but also has to work really hard to stay within his weight class. To do so, he will limit his diet at times to salad and water and run in a plastic suit.
He said the hardest part of everything is coming to practice every day. There are times he was sore and just didn’t want to work out.
Casarez said he doesn’t really like to travel too far from home but a state title was worth the six-hour drive.
He said the trip to Abilene with Coach Straube and his family was a serious drive but after the meet the drive back was much more fun. They made several stops on the way back, including one in Fredericksburg.
When he is at the actual meets, he gets three lifts per event. He always starts with a lift much lighter than what he knows he is capable of doing just to make sure he gets it. A person only gets three lifts so if they start with a heavy lift and are unable to lift it than one of their turns is gone. When it comes to the third or heaviest of the lifts, “the thing that comes to mind is I have to lift,” he said.
His favorite event is the squat.
Now that the state meet is over, Casarez said he will continue to lift and is looking at attending college in the fall at Texas A&M University-Kingsville.
“I pray that Michael continues to work hard and make good decisions though his lifetime,” Straube said.