Earlier this month, two Calallen High School students earned honors at the USAPL Nationals Powerlifting Meet in Bay St. Louis, Miss.

Jacob De La Paz won the gold medal in the 116-pound division for 14-15 year olds. Thomas Soto won the silver medal in the 116-pound division overall for sub-juniors (14-18 years old).

Both are coached by Calallen Powerlfting Coach, Joel De La Paz, father to Jacob.

Soto was one of nine lifters selected to represent Team USA at the 2011 IPF Sub-Junior and Junior World Powerlifting Championships in Saskatchewan, Canada. Lifters were selected using the PINO formula n a combination of weight, lifting total and a comparison to previous champions.

“I enjoyed watching a lot of good lifters and competing with them,” Jacob De La Paz said. “I try to lift with good form like (Thomas) does and keep improving like he does.”

De La Paz finished the meet with a total of 661 pounds, including a 275-pound deadlift. Soto wrapped up his appearance with a total of 1,007 pounds, including a 391-pound squat.

This will be Soto’s second straight appearance at the world competition.

In 2010, he traveled to represent the USA in the Czech Republic with two other members of the Calallen High School powerlifting squad. However, he is excited to perform in retribution for an injury at last year’s competition.

“Three weeks out before (the 2010) worlds, I pulled my hamstring, so it kind of cost me a world championship,” Soto said. “I want to come back healthy and win a gold medal for my team and my country.”

The World Powerlifting Champtionships will be held from Aug. 30 to Sept. 4.