RAYMONDVILLE — At Raymondville High School, Viviana Flores tempered her talents to become one of the world’s champion powerlifters.
Now, the 20-year-old at Texas A&M University holds the gold medal in her division after competing in the 35th International Powerlifting Federation’s World Juniors & Sub Juniors Women’s Championships in Orlando, Fla.
“It’s always been my goal,” said Flores, the daughter of Olivia Garza. “It’s pretty overwhelming.”
Flores, a two-time Texas state champion at Raymondville High School, now plans to compete in the IPC’s World championships next year.
Earlier this month, Flores won first place in the 84+kg division while competing in the squat and bench press.
Meanwhile, she took third place in the deadlift competition.
At Texas A&M, she relied on her training at Raymondville High School, Flores said.
“I trained harder than I had before,” said Flores, who plans to graduate with a degree in community health next year.
“I focused more on myself,” she said. “I was more concerned about my lifts and bettering myself more than on what anyone else was doing.”
A 2015 graduate, Flores twice won the state championship, setting a Texas record with a 625-pound squat.
“It’s something I love to do,” Flores said of the sport. “It’s the intensity of it — how grueling it is. You have to be committed to be successful.”
In ninth grade at Raymondville High School, she found her niche in a sport in which “your main competition is yourself.”
Soon, she was perfecting her area of expertise — the squat.
On the school’s powerlifting team, Coach Gerardo Villarreal helped mold her into a champion.
“She’s really put us on the map,” Villarreal said. “She’s taken it to a different level. At the national level, she’s flourished.”
During her summer breaks, Flores still turns to Villarreal for guidance.
“She drops by during the summer and I give her some tips to help her out,” Villarreal said. “She’s a great role model. She influences other girls.”
Next, Flores plans to compete in the USA Powerlifting Collegiate Nationals, which Texas A&M will host next spring.
“I’m hoping it continues — that I’m able to stay on top of things,” she said.
Viviana Flores’ performances in the World Juniors & Sub Juniors Women’s Championships
– First place – squat – best lift 585 pounds
– First place – bench press – best lift 320 pounds
– Third place – deadlift – best lift 385 pounds