Breaking Barriers: Eisenhower’s Palacios making history as first-ever Aldine ISD female powerlifter
When Mia Palacios walked out to soccer practice one day, the Eisenhower junior pulled out her phone to show a video to assistant soccer coach Kevin Goodwin.
The video was of her lifting 225 pounds of weight at her local gym.
Goodwin, who coached powerlifting years ago and saw State qualifiers in his time as the Athletic Director of Center Independent School District, knows when he sees a powerlifter.
After seeing the video, Goodwin immediately walked into the school to find the powerlifting coach.
“I ran inside and told Coach [Ray] Metoyer, I’ve got you a Regional Qualifier,” Goodwin said.
Metoyer added: “I brought her in our weight room just to see what she could do. She did well.”
So, the coaches got Palacios into the weight room and started putting her through a powerlifting workout with the proper equipment and technique.
In February, Palacios entered her first powerlifting meet in Conroe. In the 123-pound weight class, the junior squatted 230 pounds, benched 95 and deadlifted 235 to take second place overall.
“It was a really good experience, especially for my first time,” Palacios, who started “playing around with weights during quarantine”, said. “I feel more comfortable now that I know what it’s like and how everything goes.”
Her total weight of 560 pounds put her fourth place overall in the region and qualified Palacios for the Regional Powerlifting meet, which is set for Tuesday at Alvin High School. If she finishes in the top two she will advance to the State Powerlifting Meet or if she hits 725 pounds.
With Palacios competing in the Conroe powerlifting meet, she made history for not only Eisenhower High School but also for Aldine ISD as the first-ever female powerlifter.
“There’s a lot of girls who have asked me about it,” Palacios said about the growing interest since she has started competing. “They say ‘hey, I didn’t know we had a team, how do we get into it?’. It’s definitely something that there’s interest in.”
Aldine ISD added powerlifting just four years ago and 2022 is the third year of powerlifting in the district. But when it comes to the sport, there can be some misconceptions.
When people initially think about powerlifting, they think about big, strong, men lifting big weights. This idea can be one that scares girls away from the sport. But Palacios tells people who ask her, “just get into it, it’s fun”.
“There’s a lot of girls in powerlifting and they still have their feminine side,” Palacios said. “So, you can do both.”
Metoyer added: “She’s real good at it. I hope other girls in the district see that it is not only boys that can lift but also girls can. After they see what Mia has done and being so successful, I think it’s going to draw more girls to the sport next year.”
As Palacios – who plays soccer, powerlifts, is in the band and sits in the Top 5-percent of her 2023 graduating class at Eisenhower – walks into the weight room to get her next workout in, Goodwin continues to field more and more interest in the sport that Palacios is blazing a new path in the district.
“Since [she competed in Conroe, I’ve had at least 10 girls say to me in reference to how do I join?” Goodwin said. “It really has blown up.”
But how has Palacios, who didn't start powerlifting until two weeks ago have found so much success already?
"She works, she's a hard worker," Metoyer said. "I talked with the head soccer coach, and she said she is the same way. In the two weeks I've had her she works harder than those boys in there. That's why she's so successful. Anything she does she works hard at it, not only at athletics but also in the classroom.
"She's small in stature but her heart is bigger than she is. She's dynamite in the weight room as far as work ethic."