BROWNSVILLE (KVEO) – The year 2020 was a challenging one at the least. Brownsville Lopez powerlifter Marleen Salazar was within reach of competing in her first state championship meet. Until the pandemic pushed that out of reach.
“It’s always been a question mark on the top of my head,” said Salazar. “If I was going to go as far as I did with gyms being closed.”
Not only did Marleen have to wait an entire year to get back to the state meet, but she had to overcome so many obstacles to even qualify.
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The pandemic halted sporting events but also closed school campus facilities and public gyms. Marleen found a way around that, though.
“It was the 34-pack of water bottles that I used for pushups or anything like that. I had a backpack full of my books from school and I used that for squat.”
Once the gyms did begin to open back up, school facilities were still a no-go. Marleen’s Uncle generously bought her a membership at the local Tru Fit.
She joined him for workouts as early as 5 a.m., that way she could still make it to online school in time for the first period.
“I just trained all alone, but my Coach Barba and Coach Castro, you know, they told me from the very beginning that this is all going to be all on me,” said Marleen.
With help from her family, and her Coaches helping her virtually, Marleen pressed on.
A junior in high school with so much discipline for herself, she was dead-set on getting back to the state championship the following year.
After all, she owed it to herself, her family, and the legends that have passed through Lopez powerlifting before her.
“We’re very fortunate here at Lopez high school,” said Coach Matt Barba. “We’ve had such amazing lifters prior to her set the bar so high. She [Marleen] remembers certain lifters, Juliann Delgado, Jose Alvarado, they set the bar so high so that we can go to the middle schools and just praise our powerlifting team. She saw that she said, “I wanna be just like that.”
Marleen qualified for the state competition in Corpus Christi this year. In fact, not only did she qualify for the meet, but she dominated it.
“With my coach and my other teammate you know, I kind of felt more relaxed and more, you know, I spoke to myself and knew that this is like any other meet this is like any other competition,” said Salazar.
In the Division 5A, 259-lb weight class Marleen benched 255 pounds, squatted 455 pounds, and deadlifted 430 pounds. She out-lifted opponents by 150 lbs., and placed 1st in the girl’s powerlifting championship.
The year of 2021 is officially Marleen’s comeback year.
“It feels unbelievable it feels like something that I never thought I would come to. I know that this state champion only will push me further to push myself for my senior year so I can accomplish the things I want to accomplish for my last year of powerlifting.”