|Power up: 14 from SSHS competing at regional meet|
|Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor|
March 5, 2004 -- Fourteen Sulphur Springs Wildcats who have lifted more that 15,000 pounds will compete Friday in the Division I, Region III powerlifting meet Friday at Greenville High School with a state berth on the line.
Among those who have qualified for regional are Leo Wisniewski, the defending state champion, and Brandon Skelton, the No. 1-ranked lifter in his weight class in the region.
The Wildcats had 14 lifters who were in the top 15 in the region. The top 10 in each weight classification qualify to lift, with the others going on an alternate basis.
With that many lifters going, SSHS coach Dean Lasseter believes the Cats are in the running for the regional title, if the lifters get under the maximum weight allowable for their weight class.
"We're going to take everybody in the top 15, because when you get there, you have lifters who don't show up for whatever reason. If they don't lift, they'll help out wrapping and supporting the others," he said. "Team-wise, we've got a good chance at regional to do well, to contend for first, if we make our weight. If we don't make our weight, we'll obviously won't do as well."
At the regional meet, the top five in each classification score points. Going into the meet, the Wildcats have six lifters who are ranked in the top five.
Those include not only Wisniewski, whose 1,600-pound total is the top lift in the 275-pound division; Skelton, who has lifted 1,275 pounds, which is the best in the 165-pound category; senior James Sawyer, whose 1,210 total is second to Skelton; freshman Bill Pryor, whose 815-pound total is second in the 114-pound class; junior Keidric Duffey, who has lifted 1,270 pounds for third in the 181-pound group; and Marcus Gother, whose 935 pounds is fourth in the 132-pound division.
Also qualifying are Eric Gunderson, seventh, and Tanner Higgins, 10th, in the 114-pound class, Kasey Follis, seventh in the 148-pound division; Cody Bain, sixth, in the 181-pound class; Keenan Clayton, seventh in the 198-pound group; and Aaron Boles, 10th in the 275-pound class.
Going as alternates will be Tory Mathies in the 165-pound class and Henry Preuss in the 242-pound division.
The top two in each weight class at the regional meet. along with those who lift more than a predetermined total, qualify for the state tournament.
Last year, Wisniewski won state in the 220-pound division and Skelton qualified but had to withdraw because of a pulled muscle.
Lasseter said even more could make the trip this year.
"If we make our weight, we have a good possibility to get three or maybe four to state," the coach said. "At the most, five, but probably three or four."