MISSION – Sebastian Sanchez, a 2019 graduate of Sharyland High School, signed a national letter of intent to compete as a collegiate powerlifter. Sanchez will attend Midland University – an NAIA school in Fremont, Nerbaska – one of the top powerlifting programs across America.

“It’s been pretty cool,” Sanchez said regarding his whirlwind college recruitment and signing day. “I didn’t think a university would talk to me and would tell me they wanted me to compete for them. I’m just proud of it. I want to thank everyone because everyone in their own way has helped me to become the person I am and everything I have achieved. It’s pretty great.”

“He was committed this year and committed himself to lifting this year,” Sharyland powerlifting coach John Lopez said. “We’re extremely excited and proud of him because he’s come a long way.”

Sanchez, a one-year letter winner in powerlifting at Sharyland, qualified for the 5A Regional and State Meets during his senior season following a strong comeback after being dismissed from the team a year earlier. He finished ninth at the 5A Regional Meet lifting 1,350 pounds, and followed that up with a 14th place finish at the 5A State Meet where he lifted 1,325 pounds.

“I wanted to become someone, and to become someone in life you have to have goals,” he said. “When I tried powerlifting again, I guess I just fell in love with it. My discipline and work ethic just came out of me like it was something natural. It’s just a part of me.”

Sanchez will be joining one of the nation’s top powerlifting programs when he arrives at Midland. The Warriors, who launched their program in the 2016-17 academic year, produced a male national champion in their first year of competition.

More recently, Midland University cleaned up awards at the 2019 USA Powerlifting Collegiate Nationals. The Warriors won raw titles for both their men’s and women’s sides, the first-ever national championship for the women and back-to-back titles for the men. Additionally, 20 powerlifters won individual medals with eight men and women winning individual national titles.

“It feels great to be honest,” Sanchez said of seeing his hard work pay off. “I’m not saying I was the most social person, but when I got real into powerlifting everything I wanted to do was just workout. Even my mental health depended on my workouts. If I didn’t workout correctly or I felt like I didn’t give my everything, I would feel bad.”

“We’d close up ours, and (Sebastian) would go to another gym,” Lopez said.

The Sharyland powerlifting program has recently achieved high levels of success on both the boys and girls sides since its inception only a handful of years ago. The Rattlers girls took seven girls to the 5A State Meet this year, where two took home the state title and runner-up for individual powerlifting, while the team also sent five boys – a program record – to compete in the state championship as well.

The Sharyland High program now includes 48 boys and girls.