Power comes in many forms, and it’s possible to gauge a person’s strength and determination by how hard they battle through adversity. The girls representing the Graham powerlifting team can be accurately assessed under that microscope.

Powerlifting has been around for years, and locally, GHS is developing its talent through a group of lifters looking to put their stamp on the sport in a huge way. There are so many things that make up the life of a typical teenager, from the countless hours prepping for college to the miles laid down on a basketball court, track, or high school stage to the minimum wage jobs worked trying to sock away a little change.

These days when it comes to the ladies of the Graham powerlifting team, they can typically be found in the gym, putting aside everything else and simply loading the bar. Graham Girls powerlifting coach Brad Lang said that it speaks volumes to the character of these young ladies that they put all else on hold and condition themselves to compete.

One of the greatest surprises this year is the number of girls who have qualified for the regional meet. At this point, great performances are expected from seminal Graham lifters such as your Madison Shooks, Maria Melendezes and Sydney Smiths. But there have been some newcomers this year who have really stepped up, causing competitors from all over the district to take notice.

Take Claudia Padron and Annie Slavings. The two first year lifters have come onto the scene and put in the hard work it takes to qualify for regionals. At a recent lifting meet in February against Wylie HS, Padron took 3rd place with an impressive 210 pound squat, 85 pound bench press and 245 pound dead lift for a total of 540 pounds.

Read the entire story in Wednesday's Graham Leader.