Two Waxahachie powerlifters are headed to the state tournament. The freshman did it almost by happenchance.

The senior accomplished the feat between his part-time job and classwork.

“The character of these two kids is phenomenal,” said Waxahachie powerlifting coach Rocky Robinson following the THSPA Division 1 Region III championships held Thursday in Tyler.

Danny Carrillo won the 114-pound class with an 815-pound three-lift total. He maxed out at 310 pounds inside the squat rack, 165 on the bench and pulled 340 pounds on the deadlift.

Carrillo was a formally a member of the Indians soccer team but chose to forgo his senior season to focus on powerlifting because, as Robinson explained, “he really loved it and found a passion for it.”

He is not just a powerlifter though. He can either be found working at the Waxahachie HEB, in class or the weight room — and doesn’t skimp on any of the three.

“That says a lot about his character,” Robinson added.

Fellow Iron Indians, Ethan Peace and Michael Harris, also competed in the 114-pound class at the regional meet, finishing sixth and seventh with 585-pound totals, respectively.

Carrillo will be joined by freshman Dax Lott on Saturday, March 23 at the Taylor County Expo Center in Abilene for the Texas High School Powerlifting Association state championships.

Lott finished second in the 132-pound weight class on Thursday afternoon. And it wasn’t by much or without drama.

“I almost start crying every time I think about it,” said Scott Lott, Dax’s father, on Friday after he had had time to soak in the accomplishment.

Dax competed in his first powerlifting meet in October and began to train about 10 months before then. He has, however, “been going to the gym forever,” his dad added.

Consequently, Dax is no stranger to the weight room. He has pops to thank for that.

Scott competed in one powerlifting meet in 1994 and did not compete again until he joined the bodybuilding circuit, ultimately competing in events in 2000, 2012 and 2013.

Scott has been lifting weights, of the heaviest variety, for quite some time, making Dax’s future in the sport a seemingly foregone conclusion.

“Everyone kind of knew that he would be a lifter,” Scott joked.

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Dax led by 50 pounds over the eventual third-place finisher, Jaiden Garrick of Lindale, as the meet entered the deadlift. The Waxahachie freshman recorded a 400-pound lift in the squat rack and pushed up 250 pounds on the bench press. “But we knew deadlift was his weakest lift,” Scott said. “So we knew that he had to put up the numbers there.”

Dax first pulled 315 pounds, only to quickly find himself in third place by 25 pounds after Garrick yanked up 390 on the opening pull.

“Now we are behind the eight-ball,” Scott explained. Dax countered Garrick’s opening yank by pulling 340 on his second of three attempts. Garrick attempted to pull back into the second-place spot by loading 410 on the bar. He misstepped on the way up, which left the door to the state meet wide-open for Dax to walk through on his own accord.

All that Dax needed, though, was to tie Garrick in overall weight lifted in order to advance to the state meet, as he held the tiebreaker after weighing in at 330 pounds. Garrick checked in a 330.2 pounds.

Remember: Dax entered the deadlift up 50 pounds. If he did not increase his 340-pound total recorded in the second lift and Garrick pulled 410, Dax would lose the overall total by 20 pounds.

Dax needed 360 pounds to ensure a tie, assuming Garrick would re-attempt 410. However, his previous season-high deadlift max of 350 pounds was set in the 148-pound class.

See, Dax detests conditioning. In fact, it might be the lone attribute that keeps him from the football field. He will, though, willingly wake up at 5 a.m., pound a couple egg whites and run around to cut weight — and all at his own accord.

“I have tried a couple times to get Dax on the football field and, every time, Dax has looked at me and said, ‘Coach, I am a powerlifter; not a football player.’ I’ve reassured him that there is room for him on the football field, but when he sets his mind to something, it is made up,” Robinson laughed. “[…] Dax takes everything seriously and wants to be the best in anything that he does. He is going to do everything that he can control to win.”

The two-week-or-so regiment paid off and Dax dropped to the 138-pound class. He’s excelled ever since. It was ultimately that decision to drop a weight class that had Dax in a position to punch his state championship ticket on the third-and-final lift of the regionals.

“So then we start strategizing, and coach [Robinson] was the one who really came up all of this,” Scott disclosed. “That kid (Garrick) was real close to 410 (pounds) and he didn’t miss by much. Rocky said that if that kid pulled 410 and we pull 350 then he is going to be 60 pounds ahead of us and we are going to lose.”

The group made the decision, unbeknownst to Dax, to raise his third attempt to 360 pounds — 10 more than his previous max. They also instructed the freshman to not look at the board that showed the attempted weight.

“He goes to step up on the platform and, for some reason, they put 365 on the bar and not 360, but he was already in his zone, so I was like, ‘screw it,’” Scott recalled. “If he can pull 360 then he can pull 365. As soon as the bar came off the ground, I knew he had it. It was awesome.”

Scott promptly circled the platform in celebration.

Robinson added, “We knew that if Dax pulled the 360 that he’d be in the driver’s chair, but not 30 seconds after celebrating we found out that they mis-loaded it and it was actually 365.”

Garrick did, in fact, pull 410 on his third attempt, which meant that if Dax had stayed at 350, he would’ve finished third and missed the state meet.

Dax finished the meet with a 1,015-pound three-lift total, just 15 pounds behind the 1,030-total posted by Jesus Reyes of Ennis. More importantly, that extra five pounds on the bar put him ahead of Garrick and onto Abilene.

“And he had no idea,” Scott said. “[…] He accomplished two goals yesterday by pulling over 1,000 pounds and going to state as a freshman. I knew he was strong, but he is kind of a freak.”

He added, “I always tell people who don’t have kids that any accomplishment, anything that you’ve ever wanted or anything that you’ve ever done, whenever your kids do something like what Dax did or what Destin used to do on the volleyball court, it trumps it 10 times over. It is more emotional, and you are more proud and excited than you have ever been.”

A STRONG FUTURE

Joseph Chavez, who competed in the 242-pound class, finished third with a 1,445-pound three-lift total, just missing a spot in the state meet.

The other Waxahachie lifters included Jaden Basham (6th in 148), D'Tyler Mason (7th in 165), Quincy Johnson (9th in 165), Jonathen Guerrero (10th in 181), Denton Ross (8th in 275) and Alejandro Moreno (10th in 275).

As a team, Waxahachie placed fifth out of 23 teams with 15 points. Ennis took the overall regional championship with 23 points and three first-place lifters. Lindale was second with 23 points and no first-place finishes, while Huntsville (19 points) and Greenville (16) rounded out the top four.

The sheer fact that the Iron Indians advanced an entire 11-lifter team to the regional meet excites Robinson, especially when he considers how young the group is and projecting out their potential for next season.

“We knew that this was truly going to be a rebuilding season for us with three freshmen, three sophomores, four juniors and one senior; this is the youngest team I’ve ever had. To do what they’ve done and to make those gains in the weight room and have a whole team make the regionals is awesome. We are really excited.”

He added, "Programmatically, these kids are bought in and working their tails off. They are so proud to represent Waxahachie in everything that they do, and it is really awesome.”