Rio Hondo powerlifter returns from nationals qualifier with college offers

Rio Hondo High School powerlifter Paloma Murillo attended the 2021 USA Powerlifting TSS High Schools Nationals Qualifier in San Antonio on April 24 and returned home with college scholarship offers.

The RHHS senior took the State Lightweight Division at the 2021 Texas High School Women’s Powerlifting Association (THSWPA) March 18-19 when she squatted 315 pounds, benched 190 pounds and deadlifted 305 pounds for a total of 810 pounds. Murillo was awarded Most Outstanding Bench and Total in the Lightweight Division. As state champion in her division, she was given the opportunity to compete in the nationals qualifier held in the Alamo City.

Since her recent trip, Murillo has been approached by the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Texas at San Antonio and Midland College (Fremont, Nebraska). Her school plans to hold a scholarship signing ceremony for her toward the end of May.

Murillo has been powerlifting since her sophomore year. According to coach Mike Garza, she has always been disciplined and trained hard. Last season, after she qualified for state, Murillo set new goals and began working towards them.

“This year she became Regional Champion and State Champion, so she was catching the eyes of recruiters early on,” Garza said. “After her trip to San Antonio, she received more formal offers.”

“I never thought I was going to love a sport the way I fell in love with powerlifting. It’s a great sport, and I love the competition aspect of it,” Murillo said. “Powerlifting has given me a competitive edge and a scholarship to college. I want to keep making my family and school proud when I’m at college.”

Murillo is still deciding which college she will attend, but she plans to study criminal justice and become a police officer. She is the daughter of Cinthia and Esteban Murillo.