Meet a Roadrunner: Victoria Vargas is breaking records in the powerlifting world
(April 26, 2017) -- Meet Victoria Vargas. She is a world-class powerlifter set on breaking records.
A native of Moore, Texas, Vargas, 22, is a member of the nationally ranked UTSA Powerlifting Team, Roadrunner Powerlifting. It won the first national title for a UTSA club sport in 2014 and has produced several top-ranked powerlifters since its founding, including UTSA alumna Molly Zunker '15.
Earlier this month, Vargas, a senior kinesiology major in the UTSA College of Education and Human Development, won gold for the second consecutive year at the USA Powerlifting Collegiate National Championships (USAPL). Finishing with the highest recorded powerlifting score for the meet, she went on to set two unofficial world records in her weight class.
Vargas was introduced to strength training and powerlifting in the eighth grade by a coach who noticed her aptitude for athletics and her natural strength. She took to it immediately, eventually moving on to competitions at the local, state and national levels. She trained and competed all throughout high school and chose to attend UTSA partly because of the prestige of its powerlifting club.
"I got into powerlifting because I wanted to get in shape and push myself beyond what I thought possible," said Vargas. "Now, I just absolutely love it. Competing at this level is very exciting."
The 4’9” Roadrunner lifted a combined 1,091.29 pounds over the course of the USAPL competition, which she says is an unofficial International Powerlifting Federation women’s world record. At one point, she squatted 413.3 pounds, a record for her weight class. She often lifts without knowing the exact weight on the rack, which is set by her coaches and support staff.
"My 413.3 pound squat is about 3.6 times my body weight," said Vargas, who is currently ranked second out of 1,000 female powerlifters in the USAPL's overall rankings. "It was intense, but I was really proud of myself for doing it. I remember the rush once I realized that I had been able to lift that much because I didn't know beforehand."
As a top powerlifting competitor, Vargas travels a few times a year with other UTSA powerlifters to compete across the country. She trains for more than a dozen hours per week to keep her body up to the challenges of lifting such large quantities of weight.
"It feels amazing to have such strong and talented people around you who are just cheering you on," Vargas said. "My fellow Roadrunners and I are trying to be the best that we can be."
Vargas recently traveled to Killeen, Texas, for the International Powerlifting Federation’s RAW World Classic Bench Press Championships. Last year, she took first place in her division at the RAW World Classic by lifting upwards of 330 pounds in her weight class to win the gold. This year, she placed second in her division, and she accomplished a personal best by bench pressing 187.5 pounds during the competition.
“I’m all about a good challenge,” said Vargas. “I’m the kind of person who wants to overcome any type of challenge put in front of me.”
After Vargas graduates in the fall, she hopes to earn her personal training certificate and enter a nursing program. She hopes to use her background in exercise science to promote healthy living in her community. She plans to continue powerlifting as long as she is able.
"I still have a lot of work to do to get to where I want to be, but I am always happy and proud of my performances," Vargas said. "It's always an honor to get to meet some of the strongest and most talented lifters in the world."
Do you know a Roadrunner who is achieving great things? Email us at email@example.com so that we may consider your suggestion for our next installment of Meet a Roadrunner.
Experience a fun, interactive week at UTSA as new students and their families take the first steps to becoming a Roadrunner.Various locations, Main Campus and Downtown Campuses
Throughout the summer, UTSA offers more than 60 camps in science, engineering, architecture, sports, music, writing, language, culture and more.Various locations, Main and Downtown Campuses
This event guides seniors and graduate students on the last phase of their college career and prepares recent alumni within one year of graduation for the world of work. Workshops and sessions will provide information on interview skills, job search strategies and networking.Student Union, University Career Center, 2nd floor, Main Campus
The gala brings together UTSA alumni, friends and guests to celebrate the association's 41 years of scholarships, services, programs and the 2018 Alumni Award recipients.Hyatt Hill Country Resort and Spa, 9800 Hyatt Resort Dr, San Antonio
As part of the citywide Kidcation and the ITC's free second Sunday, kids and families will have an opportunity to interact with cowboy docents, practice their skills at roping, learn about life on the cattle drives, make their own spurs, grab a seat for cowboy story time and work on cowboy-themed hands-on crafts.UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, Hemisfair Campus
Dozens of fun and free events to welcome new and returning Roadrunners.Various locations, Main and Downtown Campuses
The kickoff to Roadrunner Days, the UTSA community welcomes the thousands of students who move in to their new homes as they begin their journey at UTSA.Laurel Village, Chaparral Village and Alvarez Hall, Main Campus
After a full day of moving, UTSA students and their families are invited to the party featuring food, swag, dancing and a special performance from the Spirit of San Antonio marching band.Student Union Paseo, Main Campus