Wednesday, January 24, 2024
  Student Life, Around Campus, Accolades

By Matthew Cavazos

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – JAN. 24, 2024 – Alexa Prado, a UTRGV junior and former high school state champion powerlifter from Hidalgo, had a vision to continue her powerlifting dream at UTRGV.

So, she spoke with representatives from UTRGV Athletics and UREC about starting a powerlifting club at the university. Both were overwhelmingly supportive, and together they formulated a plan for the new club.

Then some of her friends who share the same passion for powerlifting joined in as inaugural members of Club Powerlifting at UTRGV on the UTRGV Edinburg Campus.

“I talked to some of my high school powerlifting friends,” Prado said, “and they were excited about coming along with me on this journey.” 

It all came together quickly. They were recognized in August by UREC as a competitive sports club, and by October, Club Powerlifting at UTRGV officially was registered under USA Powerlifting (USAPL) as a collegiate competitive team.

USA Powerlifting, the leading drug-tested powerlifting organization in the United States, sanctions local and regional events where powerlifters can compete and qualify for national events, including the USA Powerlifting Collegiate Nationals.

On Nov. 4, Club Powerlifting at UTRGV competed for the first time at the RGV Fall Classic – a USAPL sanctioned event – in Harlingen, with eight of nine competitors receiving first- or second-place medals. It was exciting, Prado said, that six members of Club Powerlifting at UTRGV qualified at that event for the 2024 USAPL Collegiate Nationals in Atlanta, Ga., in April.


Prado sees a bright future for the club, with opportunities to grow in membership and host invitational meets for high school and collegiate athletes. 

“My goal for the team's presence at nationals is to not only have it endure but to flourish,” Prado said. “In five years, I would like our collegiate club to be among the top competitive teams in the country and a source of pride for UTRGV.”

For next fall, the club is planning tryouts for UTRGV students and any future students interested in joining.

“We welcome individuals with varying levels of expertise, from those just beginning their powerlifting journey, to experienced competitors who wish to seamlessly integrate their passion for sports into their college experience,” Prado said.

Students interested in joining the Club Powerlifting at UTRGV can fill out a recruitment form. Then, a current member will reach out to guide the rest of the process.


Powerlifting in the area dates back to 1993, when Lyford won the Valley’s first team championship for boys’ powerlifting. Since 2008, six Valley high schools have 10 combined team state championships from the Texas High School Powerlifting Association.

The Los Fresnos Lady Falcons have won eight straight 6A state team championships, while Edcouch-Elsa have won three straight 5A state team championships from the Texas High School Women’s Powerlifting Association.

“I know that the Rio Grande Valley is always looked at by all the major powerlifting teams because we have had great athletes who unfortunately had to leave the area to follow their powerlifting dream,” Prado said. “We hope Club Powerlifting at UTRGV helps change that.”


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.