POWER MOVE: Julio Becomes First-Ever State Powerlifting Qualifier
WHEN ERIK JULIO FIRST STEPPED ONTO THE NORTHBROOK HIGH SCHOOL CAMPUS AS A FRESHMAN, POWERLIFTING WASN’T FIRST ON HIS SPORTS LIST.
It was football. But it ended up not being a fit for Julio.
So, he pivoted and got involved with the powerlifting program in its first season of existence. What he found was a sport that didn’t care about how big or fast you are. It is just about brute strength.
“In powerlifting everyone accepts each other,” Julio said. “Everyone supports each other no matter what. That’s what I started liking about powerlifting, because it was a better community for me.”
Julio’s work for the past three years in powerlifting came to fruition this spring when he stepped into the gym for the Texas High School Powerlifting Association Region 4 Division I Regional Championship in March.
The Northbrook senior, who had made it to Regionals the year before, stepped up big. He squatted 405 pounds, bench pressed 185 pounds and deadlifted 405 pounds, giving him a total weight of 995 pounds. That number in his 123-pound division garnered him the Regional Championship and a trip to the THSPA State Meet.
“I went to Regionals last year and couldn’t get close to the other guys because it was competitive,” Julio said. “But I focused on improving every day and I got to the point to win the Regional Championship, which was a good accomplishment.”
Northbrook powerlifting co-head coach Matt Corwin added: “It was great knowing how hard he works. Anyone who has ever been in the weight room after school knows how hard he works in here, sweating and not complaining. He’s in here for hours after school making sure he hits his numbers. He’s worked very hard for everything he’s accomplished.”
Julio advancing to the State powerlifting meet was a huge deal for the senior on a personal level but also on a school and district-wide level.
He had just become the first powerlifter from Northbrook High School to go to State – even getting a State sendoff with the drumline and cheerleaders through the school halls as he left.
“It shows that you can do the impossible and to never give up throughout the process,” Julio said. “Just keep working hard.”
At the Division I State Meet in Abilene on March 26, Julio lifted 405 in the squat, 205 in the bench press and 410 in the deadlift to give him a total of 1,020 pounds – good for an 11th place finish out of 26 competitors in the 123-pound division. The numbers that Julio posted at State were all season-bests.
With his historic season behind him, Corwin has already seen the positive effect of Julio’s year on the future of the program.
“It’s a huge deal for Northbrook as a school and for Northbrook athletics,” Corwin said. “It’s been great for the sport. I have kids every day asking me about powerlifting. How do I get in? What do I have to do? So, this is great for the future of the sport at Northbrook High School.
“The effects of Erik’s accomplishment’s this year are going to be felt for years down the road.”
Julio added: “Hopefully the powerlifting program keeps improving and gets more guys to Regionals and State.