Luis Arreola was in the midst of bench-pressing his weight class’ national record of 413 pounds when he heard a loud pop in his chest, tearing his pectoral.

That was over 2 1/2 months ago.

Arreola said he felt empty afterward, but the 23-year-old Columbus resident did not stay out of the gym for long. He already has bounced back and competed in the Midwest Border Wars weightlifting competition last weekend, setting a new state record of 386.8 pounds.

Arreola was excited about record and first-place finish but said he was more happy for the three other individuals who competed with him.

Arreola’s 30 year-old brother Ulisses Meza competed in the 308-pound weight class, while their younger sister, Columbus North sophomore Brianna Arreola, was in her first-ever competition at 128 pounds. Columbus East senior Isaac Doss also traveled to Huntington to compete in the 242-pound weight class.

“It just felt surreal to be there with them and watch them lift,” Arreola said. “My brother got some personal records in his lift and my sister got one. The bond was awesome.”

Meza placed first in his division, and Brianna Arreola received a second-place finish.

Doss earned a first-place finish and much more. He broke the squat and bench press national records for the 18-19-year-old age group after less than three months of training. Doss bench-pressed 336 pounds and squatted 551 in his first-ever competition.

Doss said the competition was nerve-racking because he had never competed before, but he felt confident about the 2 1/2 months of training that was behind him. He didn’t know what to expect walking in but kept a level head and positive attitude from start to finish. He credits much of his success from the competition to his mental approach.

“If you come in with the right mindset, you can accomplish your goals easy,” Doss said. “If you want something, you have to work for it. If you work for it, you’ll accomplish it.”

Doss will continue to work toward his goals as he plans on breaking the national records in dead lift and total pounds before getting out of his age group. He was only 30 pounds short of the total pounds record Saturday and about 90 under the dead lift record.

“I definitely plan on going back, Doss said. “I have another year to train as an 18- and 19-year-old.”

Lifting weights at this magnitude is new territory for Doss, who has only lifted weights for football and weightlifting class until now. The defensive linemen was a football player for the Olympians and plans on powerlifting for the rest of his life. Doss did all of his preparation by training with Arreola and his two siblings, and said it felt good to see everybody do well.

“It’s just great to see everybody succeed and accomplish their goals,” Doss said. “Luis came back with a dirty taste in his mouth wanting to break that record, and he did.”

Arreola qualified for the national competition in Las Vegas, where he will try to break the state’s total pounds record July 7. He was only three points short at the Midwest Border Wars.

The best of the best

Name: Luis Arreola

Age: 23

High school: Columbus North

Weight class: 198

State record: Bench press (386.8 pounds)

Name: Isaac Doss

Age: 18

High school: Columbus East

Weight class: 242 (18-19 age group)

National records: bench press (336 pounds), squat (551 pounds).

Author photo
Frank Bonner is a sports writer for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5632.