Thursday’s result was probably a long time coming if you talk to anyone affiliated with Gautier’s boys powerlifting team.
The Gators have made steady progress in the last couple of years, establishing themselves as one of 5A’s top squads. Three years in a row, Gautier has won the District 8, Region 4, Class 5A title. Last year, the Gators took a big step forward in placing second at the 5A South State meet. Friday they did one better. The Gators compiled 39 points to take first place, squeaking past Brookhaven’s 36-point performance.
Reigning 5A South State champion Ridgeland (24), Pearl River Central (23), Pascagoula (23), Wayne County (19), Laurel (13), Hattiesburg (10), Long Beach (10), Picayune (6) and Stone (4) rounded out the team leaderboard.
The title was Gautier’s first.
“It’s a big milestone for us,” coach Richard Crosby said. “It’s something we’ve been shooting for and we finally put it together.
“It was really important for the team. The guys understood winning South State is a big step for the team.”
Brookhaven entered the meet with 11 qualified lifters, four more than Gautier. The Gators, however, came through with three first-place finishers, three more who placed second and a third-place medalist.
“The way it worked out, everyone had to contribute and we did,” Crosby said. “We couldn’t make any mistakes.
Gautier’s Cameron Williams (308-plus class), Chris Hunt (198) and Shamir Carroll (165) all took first in their weight classes. Chris Chandler (165), DeAndre Torrey (181) and Justin Scott (308) placed second, with SirShamus Smith (181) taking third.
Brookhaven’s Trace Clopton (308), Ben Springfield (275) and Kenneth Dixon (181) all placed first. Laurel’s Joseph Montesdeoca (114), Pearl River Central’s Justin Stevens (123) and Eddie Lizana (148), Pascagoula’s Jack Corlew (132), Wayne County’s Chris Cooley (220) and Ridgeland’s Jaylen Tucker (242) also placed first in their classes.
Do the Gators have enough left in the tank to win State on April 14?
“We’ll be in the running,” Crosby said. “It has to be a perfect day for us. Oxford and Lake Cormorant have really strong teams. We’re going to train hard, max out at State and have fun.
“Anything can happen in powerlifting.”