PAC Strength Club going strong

By Mark W. Pajak
Pulse Staff Reporter

Strength Team members include Adrian Frausto, Javier Garza, Sofia Valdez, Steven Rocha, Jesus Lozano, Anthony Rodriguez, Gary Hunter, David Register, and Paul Reyna. Photo by Mark W. Pajak
Strength Team members include Adrian Frausto, Javier Garza, Sofia Valdez, Steven Rocha, Jesus Lozano, Anthony Rodriguez, Gary Hunter, David Register, and Paul Reyna. Photo by Mark W. Pajak

The Palo Alto Strength Club placed second overall at a competition at the University of Texas-San Antonio on Sept. 26.

Of the nine-member team, including two female competitors, five finished in first place and three finished in second.

At competitions like these, the top two finishers from each weight class compete in a variety of events, such as squats, bench press and dead lift. Points are awarded on their individual performances and the points are accumulated to give the teams and overall score.

Sofia Valdez, a freshman majoring in Kinesiology, said, "We go to do better than the last timeā€¦It really is an overwhelming experience."

The Strength Club at Palo Alto is a two-year old program that invites everyone, men and women of all shapes and sizes, to compete.

Coach Juan Aguilera said, "The gym is open to the campus, and we want more people to compete."

The team is drug-free, meaning they are free from Human Growth Hormones and steroids. Drug testing is done randomly at the competitions.

The team competition held at UTSA is one of three competitions that will lead up to regional competition at the University of Texas in Austin on Nov. 14. The two other meets are going to be in Corpus Christi and Mission, Texas. If the team finishes well in Austin, they will have the opportunity to compete in nationals at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla.

Team members Adrian Frausto, Sofia Valdez and Javier Lozano have already qualified for nationals.

The team competing this year is training very hard, and they are highly motivated because they want to make up for a lost opportunity. Last year's team qualified for the chance to compete at nationals in Reno, Nev., but they could not make the trip because of a lack of funding from the school.

Much of the funding for the Strength Club has been out of their own pockets. Paying for meals, hotel rooms and gas to get them to their events adds up. Most of the funding has come from Coach Aguilera and his father, who have paid for equipment and supplies for the team to stay competitive.

Coach Aguilera and the team members encourage everyone to come by the gym and check them out. No previous experience in weight lifting is required. The team not only competes in weight lifting, but they also compete in what is called a strongman competition. Events include pushing over tractor tires, pulling trucks and tossing logs. Frausto, a sophomore majoring in Kinesiology, placed fifth at a strongman competition held in April of this year.

One of the biggest motivational factors for the Strength Club is the opportunity to compete against what they call "the big universities," like the University of Illinois, UTSA, Louisiana State University and the University of Houston.

Frausto is on the team because it helps him "focus on what's important." He hopes to be a strength and conditioning coach when he is finished with his education at Palo Alto College. All the team members agree that "they could very well be on the street up to no good." Instead they are on the team to be a part of something positive.

Another factor is staying in shape. They welcome the pain that comes from weight lifting and strength training.

"Pain is weakness leaving the body," said Jesus Lozano, a sophomore majoring in Kinesiology.

Sofia Valdez said, "It's a good feeling to look good and get stronger."

The Strength Club also likes to compete because it gives them the opportunity to travel and meet new people from other schools.

For the team to grow and stay competitive, they believe they need more space and equipment. According to Frausto, "We sometimes get crowded in here." The team shares the space with Kinesiology classes and the volleyball team.

Students of all ages, sizes and gender are encouraged to come by the gym, which is located near the new Performing Arts Center. The weight lifting room is located on the second floor of the gym, and it is open Mondays through Thursdays, 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Fridays, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. For more information on the Strength Club, call Coach Aguilera at (210) 486-3164 or e-mail him at

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