HMK athletes join national team

Pictured from left are Gilbert Arriaga, coach Herman Rios and Daniel Gonzalez. 

Two H.M. King powerlifters received invitations to become members of the USA National powerlifting team at the Sub-Junior and Junior World Powerlifting Championships.

Daniel Gonzalez and Gilbert Arriaga will represent Kingsville at the World Powerlifting Championships in Regina, Canada, taking place from Aug. 26-31.

Powerlifting coach Herman Rios said in a statement that when the two athletes were freshmen in 2017, he had talked to them about what they could accomplish if they worked hard in the weight room.

Rios said he had the two  boys workout with his Titan Red Thunder powerlifting athletes even though they did not participate in competitions at the time.

“We set a plan for the future that seemed hard to reach at the time,” Rios said.

“It was like reaching for the stars. Daniel Gonzalez and Gilbert Arriaga spoke with me and I told them that someday they could be representing the United States at the World level of competition in powerlifting.”

Rios said they worked all spring and summer, and in 2018 the boys kept working out year-round to get stronger.

“Daniel (Gonzalez) competed in USAPL meets and became familiar with the organization,” Rios said. “He even got a qualifying total for this year’s National Championships. Gilbert (Arriaga) had to compete and win at this spring’s USAPL Texas State Championships to gain a berth to the national meet. They both had a dream and a plan to accomplish it.”

Rios said on May 23, Gonzalez went to his classroom and showed him an email from Zac Cooper, the head coach for the Sub-Junior U.S. National Team.

The email from Cooper was an official invitation to join the Sub-Junior U.S. National Team. Rios said Gonzalez was excited about being selected.

“I just want to thank God and my friends for believing in me for making the National Team,” Gonzalez said. “Without them, none of this would be possible.”

A week later, as Titan Red was holding regular workouts, Rios said Arriaga received the same email and “ran up to me jumping with excitement.”

“I stopped the practice and called everyone to my table,” Rios said. “I read the email and his teammates all gathered around him to hug him and give personal congratulations. After a few minutes everyone resumed the workouts.”

Rios then talked to Arriaga about how he felt.

“I’ve been blessed with such a great opportunity like this,” Arriaga said. “God really answered my prayers, me being 1 of 11 of the lifters in the nation to represent the U.S. is unbelievable. I want to thank my family and friends for supporting me through this, and the coaches, especially Coach Rios, for helping me with everything. This is only the beginning.”

Rios said the dream his boys set two years ago “has come to fruition.”

“For now the boys are working out five days a week preparing for the World Championships,” Rios said. “For three years, coach Jesse A. Garcia and I have worked to raise the level of strength for these two young men. Now we need to find sponsorship and fundraising to ensure that Daniel and Gilbert get to Regina, Canada without any problems. I have spoken to some community members and some school board members have offered to help us with fundraising for this awesome cause. 

“These young men are following in the footsteps of ex-Brahmas that have represented Kingsville proudly at the World level of competition.”

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