JACKSON -- Lifters from Gulfport's team at Saturday's powerlifting state meet wore shirts saying "I lift for Sherry Pierce." The wife of Admirals football coach Eddie Pierce lost her five-year battle with cancer and her death was on the minds of the team.
"The kids wanted to win it for her," said Gulfport Coach Logan Fallo. "She was probably the most positive person. They came in here very emotional and wanted to bring it back for her." And they did.
Gulfport won a third state championship in 6A, finishing with 51 points to 39 for defending champion D'Iberville. That was a reversal of the South State meet, where Gulfport finished five points behind the Warriors. Gulfport had five individual champions. Cain Sudduth won at the 123-pound weight class, JaQuan Foster at 132, Micah Booker at 220, D.J. Stevenson at 242 and Nicholas Dunomes at 308.
Fallo felt that Stevenson's win was especially important because he upset defending champion Wyatt Delancey of D'Iberville had two winners, Kahlil McCray at 165 and Cade Ross at 198. Jordon Beaton of Harrison Central won 275 and his team finished fifth.
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Beaton broke his own state record of 800 pounds in 275-pound class squat with a lift of 820 pounds Saturday.
Ross won a third straight championship and tied the state record for his weight class with lifts totaling 1,655 pounds. He attempted 705 on his last dead lift, which would have been a record for that event and would have given him sole possession of the record for total weight. "I got it all the way. It just fell off my hand. My grip wasn't there."
Despite equaling the record, Ross was disappointed that D'Iberville failed to repeat. "It's never been about me. It's always been about the team," he said.
Other boys team winners were Oxford in 5A, Pontotoc in 4A, Velma Jackson in 3A, Bruce in 2A and Coffeeville in 1A.
Moss Point won its first championship in girls Class II, finishing with 35 points to 29 for runner up Itawamba AHS,
"This is the second year of the program, We only started it last year, said Moss Pointcoach Kyle Mickelson. "My girls work out at 5 o'clock in the morning, every single day, five days a week. Dedication, that was the key."
Moss Point had two individual champions, Niya Cooper at 123 and Destiny McCants at 220.
Other Coast individual champions: Khalil Burns, George County, 6A boys, 181 weight class. Turan Smith, Poplarville, 4A boys, 132; Yazmyne Valencia, D'Iberville, Class III girls, 105 and Jacob Drake, Vancleave, 4A, 275.