Cleburne High School junior Keirstyn Catron will be among the competitors at the Texas High School Women’s Powerlifting 5A State contest taking place Friday in Waco.
Catron is new to the sport, adding it to her participation in basketball and track and field, at the encouragement of Jacket Powerlifting Coaches Jason Payne and Marlon Winn.
“Observing Keirstyn during Summer Strength and Conditioning, you could tell she was very strong,” Payne said. “Her attitude to get stronger, and her work ethic, made it easy to see she would learn quickly and be successful.”
Winn also points to Catron’s involvement in the summer program involving Jackets from all sports, and the work she put into it, as making her a strong candidate for powerlifting, in his mind.
“She is the type of kid that is always looking to better herself in every area of her life,” Winn said. “During summer workouts, she would add weight to the bar and nothing ever seemed to be too heavy for her. I had the opportunity to coach her in track for the past couple of years and her work ethic made asking her to join powerlifting a no-brainer.”
After deciding to attend a practice for a sport she had only heard about, Catron said she walked out of that practice loving it—for the most part.
“Coach Winn and Coach Winn wanted me to lift, and I’m so glad I did,” Catron said. “But coming into the program for the first time this year, it’s been a learning curve. I didn’t like the bench shirt. It was so tight I could barely breathe. Actually I hated it. But without it, I quickly realized it was a help, I could do more.”
“I’ve always lifted with my brothers, who are older than me,” she said. “But my strength has always been in my legs. My bench lift was really bad when I began. Lifting with my arms was so hard, but I’ve gotten stronger with time.”
Going into Friday’s 5A state meet, Catron’s numbers reflect that strength, starting with a bench “mark” of 230 pounds. She hopes to squat 400 pounds—or more—with the same mindset for the dead lift, discussing plans for 370 pounds, 385 pounds, and beyond.
Catron likes the challenge of powerlifting. It also speaks to her competitive nature.
“When you are lifting, it’s all on you,” she said. “When I’m lifting, I tell myself, ‘just get it up, don’t give up.’ That’s what goes through my head. If you do lift it, it’s great, you can move on to the next challenge. You can tell yourself, ‘I beat that and it’s time to move on.’ It’s a great feeling.”
“A desire to compete to my fullest ability is my thing,” Catron said. “To beat the girls, to beat the guys—I’m just very competitive. At first I wasn’t sure powerlifting was really a sport for me. But when I went to my first meet and saw all these little girls lifting these big weights, I knew I was doing the right thing—for me. Girls can lift, too. We aren’t weak—we got this.”
Winn said the state qualifier’s desire to be the best has made her very teachable throughout the season.
“Keirstyn’s desire to be the best at everything she does is what makes her so teachable,” he said. “That and being a hard worker, determined and not willing to take no for an answer. When she started this year, she told Coach Payne and me that she would go to state, after a couple of practices. By her third meet, she was already pushing regional numbers. Her willingness to do whatever it takes reflects the progress she has made.”
Catron credits an understanding of the basic rudiments of the sport, her coaches and the influence and support of former Lady Jacket lifter Lexi Harris as strong reasons why she will be at the state meet on Friday.
“Everything is form,” she said. “If you don’t have that, you won’t get anything. The constant reps, the critiques from my coaches and all the time and support from Lexi have been such a great help. I first worked with Lexi during Christmas break, and ever since. She’s committed to keeping girls powerlifting a strong program at Cleburne High School.”
Her family has also been supportive of the additional sport to her high school schedule, which is also weighted down with academics, both dual credit and AP courses, reflecting her interest in sports medicine or physical therapy as a career.
“My mom was hesitant about me adding powerlifting at first,” Catron said. “She was worried about my schedule, and my ability to keep on top of my grades. She’s seen how much I love it, and has been very supportive in seeing I’m doing something I love.”
Her supporters also include her senior brother Dylan Catron and her fifth grade sister, Danielle Boateng, who thinks her weight lifter sister is the “coolest thing ever.”
“My cousin, Morgan Price, has been a great help,” Catron said. “She really pushed me to join powerlifting. She’d tell me, ‘you need to come—you need to come now.’”
Catron is also quick to give the glory for what she has achieved in her powerlifting journey.
“On my second to last lift at Regionals, I missed it,” she said. “I felt like it was all over, I was done. I prayed, ‘Lord, help me get this,’ and I felt such a calm. ‘Faith without works is dead’ is my favorite verse. On my last lift, it was so heavy, but I prayed, lifted it up and now I’m going to State.”
Friday’s 5A state meet will be held at the Extraco Events Center in Waco. The competition will begin at 8 a.m.
Cleburne High School junior Keirstyn Catron will be competing Friday at the Women’s Powerlifting 5A State Meet in Waco. Catron, who also competes in basketball and throws the discus and shot put, is new to powerlifting this year. (Courtesy Photo)