SCHOLAR ATHLETES: Monahans’ Garcia handles heavy lifting in athletics and academics

Keeping track of sports and classwork can be challenging, especially going through the ups and downs of high school.

Renata Garcia showed that she could handle the challenges, finishing at the top of Monahans High School’s Class of 2022.

The senior collected multiple academic awards while competing in track and powerlifting, staying near the top of the class rankings for four years.

Garcia said she didn’t know she was in the running to be valedictorian until the end of her freshman year when she was second in the class.

“It encouraged me to push,” Garcia said. “I knew that if I could do it and pushed hard enough and worked hard enough, I could maintain my position or maybe even go higher.

“I definitely put the work into it. I was very dedicated.”

Although she knew it would be tough to maintain her grades at the highest level, Garcia was no stranger to hard work.

She competed in track since she was in the seventh grade and added powerlifting in high school.

She qualified for the regional championships from 2019 to 2022 in powerlifting and made it to state this season.

Balancing academic assignments wasn’t too difficult for Garcia because her coaches at Monahans made sure she was making that aspect of her life a focal point.

“Coaches in Monahans are more than just coaches, they’re teachers so they’re very flexible and they’re able to understand, ‘Hey, I have upcoming deadlines,’” Garcia said.

On the state trip for powerlifting, Garcia said the coaching staff set apart an hour to make sure competitors were getting their homework done.

She would also balance things by doing her classwork on the bus while returning from powerlifting trips.

Powerlifting coach Fred Howard described Garcia as the “mom” of his team this year because of the maturity she displayed.

Howard added that Garcia demands excellence from herself and the people around her.

“[She] has a heart of gold, mature way beyond her years both intellectually and ability-wise,” Howard said. “Just one of those kids that you wish you had 100 of them.”

With just a few days left remaining until graduation, Garcia is ready for the next step in her life which includes majoring in biology/secondary studies at Texas A&M.

She was originally planning on going to Texas Tech but changed her mind after going on a two-day tour on campus in College Station.

Part of Garcia’s goals for the future include continuing her powerlifting career at the next level.

She’ll continue working out through the summer before trying out for the team at Texas A&M the first week of school.

When powerlifting season ended this year, Garcia got a taste of what life would be like without the athletic component.

It didn’t take long for her to realize she didn’t want to let that go.

“It was nice having your work and everything, but I just felt like I was missing something,” Garcia said. “Which is why I started looking into the program and I was like, ‘I really need it, I really want to be more than just a student.’

“I just love powerlifting and feel accomplished in different ways.”

Along with coaching Garcia, Howard also got the chance to teach her in U.S. History.

He described her as a “sponge for knowledge” and said she was smart enough to teach the class herself.

Howard believes Garcia will be successful in the new setting and fit in quickly.

“She’s going to push herself, but she thrives on that pressure,” Howard said. “I think she’ll thrive out there, she’ll be a leader among the Aggies.”

>> Follow Chris Amaya on Twitter at @OA_CAmaya



>> Academic Rank: No. 1 (Valedictorian) of 136

>> Sports: Powerlifting

>> Academic bio: Class Scholar Award; Merit Award; Academic Award (four years); Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Award (2020); No. 1 all four years of high school

>> Athletic bio: Powerlifting (2019-2022; regional qualifier all three years; state qualifier, 2022); Track (2018-2021)

>> Activities: National Honor Society; GFWC Juniorettes (President); AWANA (Southside Baptist Church); Peer Assistance Leadership (PAL) Program; UIL Mathematics and Number Sense Team.

>> College and major: Texas A&M University (Biology/Secondary Studies)

>> Goals for the future: After attending Texas A&M University, plan to go to Texas Tech Physician School

>> Favorite subject: Mathematics (because there is always a solution to the problem)

>> Favorite book: The Bible

>> Favorite musician: Cody Johnson

>> Role model: My mother (Because when faced with challenges and difficulties she is resilient, strong and learns from the events. She taught me to be hardworking and strong in my faith.)