A host of local powerlifters will head to Abilene this weekend looking to be the state’s strongest as they compete in the Texas High School Powerlifting Association state meet.

The THSPA breaks down the boys into three divisions with Class 4A and 5A competing in Division I, while Class 3A is Division II and Class 2A and 1A make up Division III.

Waco High senior Andrew Billings will attempt to add another accolade to his decorated high school career. Billings is the defending champion and ranked No. 1 in Division I this season with a total lift of 1,960 pounds. Billings will be aiming to break the state record of 2,000 pounds.

Joining Billings in Division I will be University’s Ben Hughes, who is currently ranked third with 1,785 pounds.

At the Divison II level, Central Texas will send 12 lifters to state. Those include Robinson’s Shane Murphy, Cody Brooks, Miguel Contreras and Darius Jackson, China Spring’s Brian Pullen and Travis Cooke, Gatesville’s Chase McGhee, Hillsboro’s Erik Zavala, Connally’s Chris Robinson, La Vega’s D’Andre Minnitt and Gerald Horne II and Groesbeck’s Martin Balderas.

Central Texas could also leave its mark in Division III.

Crawford’s Cody Villa and Clifton’s Jake Robertson hold the No. 3 and No. 4 spots, respectively, at the 114-pound level. Other local Division III qualifiers are Bosqueville’s Luis Juarez and Trent Andrews, Whitney’s Sean Gibson and Jesse Wilson, Axtell’s Dylan Haralson, Reicher’s Michael Fitzhugh, Omar Cardosa and Alex O’Neil, Bremond’s Damian Kozar, Crawford’s Brody Jones, Troy’s Jeff Stark and Clifton’s Shane Siblia.

— David Ash