A parade of vehicles will make their way from the Central Texas area up Highway 36 or Highway 6 to Abilene this weekend.

Abilene’s Taylor County Expo Center is again the host for the Texas High School Powerlifting Association State Meet, which will be held Friday and Saturday. A total of 28 athletes from Central Texas schools qualified for state at their respective regional meets, and several figure to be strong contenders for state titles.

Strong being the operative word. Take Waco High senior Omar Essix, for instance. Essix hoisted 565 pounds in the squat, 285 in the bench press and a whopping 600 in the dead lift at regionals to claim the championship in the 181-pound class. Not only was that good enough for the regional title, but Essix actually lifted more total weight than the champion in the next weight class up, the 198-pound division.

Among Centex schools, Belton qualified the most lifters for state, with four. Fairfield and Troy have the next largest contingents with three qualifiers each.

Weigh-ins for state will take place Friday, while the opening ceremonies will begin at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.

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