Carter reaches State Powerlifting Meet


By Keith Sparks

On Saturday, Liberty Hill senior football player and powerlifter Matthew Carter was the lone Panther to compete in the Division 2 Boys State Powerlifting Meet in Abilene.

Prior to competing in the State Meet, Carter had to qualify for the Regional Championships in Smithville, where he took second in the 220-pound weight class in order to reach State.

Carter was a powerlifter last year, as well, but wasn’t able to make it to State as a junior. The difference this year, he said, was simply focusing harder on powerlifting in order to reach his goal.

“What I improved on was, I guess, I just got into the mindset that I want to go to State this year for powerlifting,” Carter said, “so I just pushed myself. I don’t think to my limit, yet, but to where I needed to be to reach my goal, which was going to State for powerlifting.”

At the State Meet, Carter achieved personal records in both the bench press and squat, during which he lifted 330 pounds and 560 pounds, respectively. He was able to deadlift 530 pounds, giving him a total of 1,420, which was good for 11th in his weight class.

Carter’s improved focus in the weight room this season led to further dedication to powerlifting outside of school, which he said he did twice a day nearly every day of the week. In addition to practicing the three lifts they’re required to complete at powerlifting meets, Carter also worked on different lifts that would help improve his technique.

“I was lifting almost twice a day,” Carter said. “If not twice, it was for longer periods of time at once. I mainly focused on the lifts they have at the meet, but there are also other lifts that can help me improve on technique and stuff for the bigger lifts, like grip strength.”

Last week, Carter took it a little bit easier in the weight room, choosing to lift lighter weights on the days leading up to the meet in order to preserve his strength for the biggest stage he’s ever lifted on.

Competing amongst the strongest high school athletes in the state of Texas, Carter was finally not the biggest guy in the room, which is a rarity for him. He didn’t let the stiff competition get to his head, though, opting instead to single out other lifters in the room that he aimed to compete with.

“It was somewhat intimidating, but I didn’t think I was going to get completely destroyed by the guys,” Carter said. “There were people that were my same strength, so I felt like, ‘Okay, I just need to compete against these guys and try to beat them out.’”

Prior to the meet, Carter was given a Panther sendoff at Liberty Hill High School, as his fellow classmates cheered him on while the Panther drumline escorted him through the hallways. He admitted that he didn’t expect such a big turnout, but was honored to see how many people showed up.

“I really didn’t think that many people would acknowledge it, but it was amazing to see that many people come out and support,” Carter said.

Panthers Justin Montgomery, Lakota Lawrence, and Landry Bolin joined Carter at the Regional Championships on March 10. Carter took second in his weight class at Regionals by squatting 525 pounds, bench-pressing 315, and deadlifting 540.

Montgomery finished third in his weight class, squatting 600 pounds, bench-pressing 345, and deadlifting 500, just out of reach of qualifying for State. Bolin finished eighth in his weight class, squatting 375 pounds, bench pressing 270, and deadlifting 450, and Lawrence finished 10th in his weight class, squatting 405 pounds, bench pressing 290, and deadlifting 420.