SHREVEPORT, La (KMSS/KTAL) – Southwood powerlifting program is in just its third year of existence, but it’s already making its mark on the state of Louisiana, thanks to Head Coach Jesse Esters, who is searching for a mix of success both in and out of the classroom.

“The first conversation I had with administration was about bringing powerlifting here,” said Esters. “For 20 years I’ve been doing this sport with honors students. It’s almost like the honors sport. I don’t want to make it any different now than it’s been in the past. For Southwood, we have all types of negative press. We get those things that are said negatively, but no one is going to put the exclamation point where it needs to be. We have real student-athletes.”

One of those student-athletes is Junior Cam Holmes, who qualified for the state meet as a freshman and sophomore, but could be a nationwide household name by the time her high school career is complete.

“She came as a basketball player,” said Esters. When she didn’t make the basketball team, she looked for another outlet and it just so happened she found what she was good at. She’s now looking to break the national record.”

Holmes joined the program in its first year and has seen the team go from an upstart to one of Northwest Louisiana’s best.

“He’s there for you mentally and physically,” said Homes. “Us growing it together, it’s making it bigger. It’s great to see the sport get to more people because not many people know about it. The number of girls we have this year…we’ve never had that many so that’s been a cool experience.”