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Mathis powerlifter overcomes loss of both parents, wins state title

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Posted at 10:19 PM, Apr 13, 2022

MATHIS, Texas — For Mathis powerlifter Dante Deleon, the path to a state championship was incredibly painful and difficult.

His father passed away when he was very young and his mom died right before starting his senior year.

Still, he found a way to capture the Division III state title back on March 23 in Abilene, after after benching 635 pounds, squatting 800 pounds and a deadlift of 585 pounds.

"I dedicated my bench press to my dad because he benched over 600 pounds, which I thought dang, I'm capable of that," Deleon said.

His mom died due to COVID-19 in August and Deleon dedicated winning a title for her, after a lengthy time away from powerlifting.

"It really set me back and I stopped lifting, but I finally decided to get myself off the mat and start lifting again," said Deleon. "I started all over again and began to love the sport even more, I started training harder."

His combined total of 2,220 pounds lifted at the state meet is an all time record.

He has overcome a tremendous amount of adversity and wants to motivate other student athletes who have lost their parents.

"You don't want people to feel sorry for you and that's the one thing I always remind myself of," said Deleon. "You have to keep going because stuff happens in life and you have to work hard for what you want."

Deleon has earned a powerlifting scholarship to Midland University in Freemont, Neb.

He wants to major in business and eventually become a professional powerlifter and open his own gym.