Kagman High School graduate Roman Villagomez Reyes Jr. had a notable debut in the 2020 Mecca’s Holiday Hoist held last month in Merdiain, Idaho.
Reyes joined the raw junior -93 kg class and was ranked third in the Dec. 5 competition that was sanctioned by the United States Powerlifting Association.
It was an unexpected podium finish for the 20-year-old, as he just started participating in powerlifting events in Idaho for less than a year although he has been involved in weightlifting back on Saipan. Reyes left the island in December 2019 to pursue higher education.
“I honestly did not expect to stand on the podium. I was up against some very strong people and I’m happy to say I performed to the best of my abilities,” the former Chalan Kiya resident said.
Last year’s edition of the annual Mecca’s Holiday Hoist featured 80 men and women powerlifters from different states and had competitions in 19 weight class divisions. Reyes recorded 210 kg in squat, 127.5 kg in bench press, and 230 kg in deadlift for a total of 567.5 kg to finish third behind Washington’s Zane Johnson (600 kg) and Idaho’s Schyler Voshell (600 kg).
Since it was his first time to compete in the Mecca’s Holiday Hoist, Reyes admitted that getting ready for the event was very challenging.
“My five-week preparation for this competition was very difficult. I joined the competition last minute and I had to rush some things. I was always tired from training but luckily my team and I did it right,” Reyes said.
He added that he was fortunate to have access to gyms to prepare for his debut in the tournament.
“Majority of the gyms were open so the COVID-19 pandemic did not really affect my training,” the former Ayuyus said.
With his success in last month’s event, Reyes said he is motivated to compete in more tournaments this year.
“I will be competing all year round and hopefully I can make it into the Nationals. I have three more years in the junior division,” Reyes said. “I will try my best to make an Idaho State record.”
The National Championships 2021 will be held in different states and dates as safety precaution against the COVID-19 pandemic. The junior raw competition, where Reyes belongs, will be combined with the Collegiate Nationals and it will take place in Baton Rouge, Louisiana from April 8 to 11.
Military, Police & Fire Nationals will go ahead first in Orlando, Florida on March 20 and 21, while the Teens Raw will coincide with the High School Nationals that will be hosted in Aurora, Colorado from May 27 to 30. Then for the open, masters, and youth divisions, the Nationals will run from June 14 to 19 in Daytona Beach, Florida.