Bravettes Looking to Take Program to New Heights in 2017

2017 Girls High School Powerlifting Preview

By: JOHN CANNON

RGV Athletes.com

(DONNA) – Ever since Steffanie Becker took over the girls powerlifting program eight years ago, she has really seen the team grow.

“In my first year, we literally had one powerlifter,” said Becker. “Over the years, we slowly increased our numbers and the girls of Donna High School believed they were just as strong as the boys are.”

“This year, we had 30 girls show up for the first day of practice which is great. It’s great to see the girls really believe in themselves and come in excited about competing in this sport.”

During the growth period, the Bravettes have made some noise in the sport over the years as a few girls made some noise at district, regionals and even at the state level.

In fact, two members of the Bravettes competed at the state meet last year which consisted of Corina Yanez and Karen Martinez.

Yanez, who is a two-time state qualifier, comes into her junior year hungry and ready to advance back to the big dance.

However, she wants to also do something special as a team this year and has a message for her teammates.

“I always tell the girls, especially the newcomers that they can never be afraid of trying things because they will never know what it’s going to be like,” said Yanez. “They might be scared because of the weight and think that it’s a lot. But I always tell them just to try it because you will never know if you can actually get it.”

“I started as a freshman and my brothers motivated me and toughened me up as well. They always preached for me to never be afraid and I always tell the girls that. I just want them to go out and do their best.”

Martinez, who was also a state qualifier, said she learned a lot from competing at state last year and now knows what needs to be done in order to have a better showing.

“Last year I went to state at the 148-pound weight class and now I am competing at the 132-class,” said Martinez. “So my goal is to try and hit my total from last year with this new weight class and try to win it all in 2017.”

“I placed third in the 148-pound class and feel at 132, the sky’s the limit.”

Yanez and Martinez have taken the reins of becoming leaders of the team this year and have helped push the girls to work hard in the off-season.

That hard work the Bravettes put in while preparing for the season definitely paid off as they won as a team in their first meet of the season this past weekend at the Donna Invitational.

Yanez made quite an impact in her first meet as she won her respective weight class on Saturday.

Two other girls also won in their weight division as Leena Salinas took first in the 114-pound weight class while Yliana Beltran placed first at the 105-pound division.

Martinez came in third in the 132-pound weight class and Kaylee Lopez placed second in the 198-pound class.

Becker admitted she was surprised with her team’s finish on Saturday.

However, she hopes that the finish will lead her team to great things the rest of the way.

“I believed we could turn some heads in the first meet and maybe make some noise. But I have to admit for the first meet, I was a little surprised,” said Becker.”

“The girls have been working hard since November and have really sacrificed a lot of their time to try and really do something special this year. We did great in this meet and hope the motivation of winning this one will carry over. My goal is to take all 12 girls to state this year and I feel it can be done. Just from this past weekend, we had four girls already qualify for regionals and will try to add to the number as the season progresses.”