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Cobras second, Panthers win state weight meet

by Brandon Smith | May 4, 2021 at 4:10 a.m.

PEARCY -- Fountain Lake walked away with the Class 4A title and a runner-up finish in the overall competition in Saturday's 29th Annual High School Weightlifting Championship at Wolf Stadium.

Cobras junior running back Caleb Lacy also picked up a new state record when he lifted 320 pounds in the power clean -- breaking former Cobra Andrew Barber's 2013 record of 305 pounds. Lacy, who at 174 pounds, participated in the 166-181 pound weight division, lifted a total of 575 pounds to place second to Camden Harmony Grove's Daniel Hill, who bested Lacy's overall weight by 5 pounds.

"You know, if one of our Fountain Lake guys had to lose it, it takes a little sting out of it having another Fountain Lake guy beat them out," Fountain Lake head football and weight coach Kenny Shelton said. "But (Lacy) performed quite well."

The Cobras won their fifth state title, having also won the overall title in 2013 with a win over Benton.

While Benton took the overall title with a total of 5,180 pounds, the Cobras lifted 4,785 pounds for second.

Fountain Lake senior quarterback Jack Wurz, who recently signed to play football at Lyon College in Batesville, won the 133-148 pound division, lifting a total of 470 pounds with a bench of 245 and power clean of 225. Junior Gavin Nguyen tied for second place in the 149-165 weight division after benching 285 pounds and cleaning 245 pounds for a total of 530 pounds.

Shelton said he could not be more proud of his guys -- both individually and as a team.

"It's always a goal that we have set," Shelton said. "We felt like we could have had a really good chance to win it last year, but, of course, we didn't have the opportunity with COVID. It was canceled last year unfortunately, but we, you know, we take a lot of pride in our weightlifting.

"And David DeArmon, who's my (defensive coordinator) and my head strength and conditioning guy, he does an awesome job with his program, and we sell out, man. ... We start in the off-season. We give the kids about a week to a week and a half off from the last game and then we crank it up and we're in the weight room four days a week up until, you know, starting this week we transition into two or three days and start doing some more football-related stuff, getting ready for spring ball."

Shelton said that while the highlight of the competition was the title, it was the individual performances of the team that contributed.

"You got to give those kids a lot of credit for all the hours they put in in the weight room, and, you know, we performed pretty well throughout the year in the few weight meets that we had with Lake Hamilton. ... It was a little slim on a lot of weight meets this year due to COVID," he said. "I think some teams were just a little scared to do it, you know, we'd like to host a little bit more, but our area's pretty small. We'd have to try to do what they did and move everything out to the field, but yeah, man, it was a good venue, great weather and, you know, the kids had a really good time. ... Because the conference we play in, we're always going to be, you know, the least athletic and slowest team just about every week. But the one thing we feel like we can help offset that is our strength and that's why we sell out to being stronger."

Shelton said that he had several athletes lifting in higher weight classes than their actual weight.

"You can move up in a weight class, but you can't move down," he said. "So we actually had some lighter guys, some smaller guys, who are exceptionally strong, lifting some of the larger weight classes. So they didn't have as much of a chance to place, but for the overall competition, you know, that's our main goal. Just like, we treat this just like a football game, you know. ... In the overall aspect, we care about the wins and not how many yards you rush or how many touchdowns or tackles you had, and we do first and then, you know, then you take pride in the individual stuff after team."

Lake Hamilton, who hosted the event, placed 18th overall in the championship. Head weight lifting coach Dale Gilleran said that while he was not pleased with the team's outcome, it will prove valuable as a learning experience.

"With all the management of the meet itself, we didn't really get to coach our kids," he said. "That being said, we had two bomb in the bench and get zeros. We knew we couldn't beat Benton, but we would have made a good push for second. We were disappointed with that, but we try to use experiences like these as tools to learn from. If Tevin Hughes (Woodley) would have gotten a lift on bench, he would have won his weight class."

Out of the 31 competing schools, Greene County Tech took the No. 3 spot overall at 4,760 pounds while Valley View finished fourth with 4,690 pounds and Rison fifth at 4,685 pounds.


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