AGUA DULCE — Agua Dulce High School had powerlifting before this season, but it was a sport which was loosely organized and didn’t have a lot of participation.

With the addition of former Alice powerlifting coach Noel Estrada this season, Agua Dulce’s athletes embraced the sport. Now, where there wasn’t a team, there’s one and out of that group, five lifters are representing the Longhorns at the Texas High School Powerlifting Association regional meet Saturday.

Representing Agua Dulce at the Region 5, Division 3 championships at Bishop High School are sophomore R.J. Garcia, junior Miguel Ramirez, junior Austin Kennemer, senior Goliath Garcia and sophomore Jon Rodriguez.

With his total of 875, Garcia is ranked No. 6 in the region in the 123-pound weight class. Ramirez has a total of 865 and is ranked No. 12. Kennemer has a total of 1,305 and is No. 6 in the 242-pound weight class. Garcia is No. 11 in the super heavyweight class and Rodriguez is 12.

The highlight of the season came a few weeks ago at the Wildcat Invitational at Calallen High School. Facing some of the Coastal Bend’s top teams, Agua Dulce was one missed lift away from taking third place in the meet.

“I’m really proud of the kids,” Estrada said. “The kids here have always been strong, but they’ve really improved this season. As a team, we didn’t have anyone squat 450 and now we have three. The same with out bench press.”