The Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson will be besieged Saturday by some of South Mississippi's strongest as more than 80 Coast powerlifters compete in the 2015-16 state meet.
The meet will begin at 8:15 a.m. and run into the evening.
The Coast contingent Saturday will feature both quantity and quality as six girls made the two Elite 11 teams and nine boys were named to the Super 12 teams.
D'Iberville's Yazmyne Vanlencia (105-pound weight class) joins Moss Point's Niya Cooper (123), Trinity Cooper (132) and Destiny McCants (220), and Harrison Central's Trinity McKenzie (181) and Emma Farmer (220-plus).
Cain Sudduth (123) and Jaquan Foster (132) are Gulfport Admirals on the Super 12 teams. George County's Khalil Burns (181) and Harrison Central's Jordon Beaton (275) also made the cut, as did D'Iberville's Khalil McCray (165), Cade Ross (198), Micah Booker (220), Wyatt Delancey (242) and Mike McCoy (242).
Moss Point girls
The Lady Tigers have come a long way under coach Kyle Mickelson. This year, the Class II South State champs will bring nine to Jackson in hopes of claiming Moss Point's first state championship since the Gridiron Tigers claimed a title in 2000.
"There was literally no powerlifting program two years ago," said Mickelson, who started the program in 2014. "It just shows the progress we have made in two years."
In their first year, two Moss Point lifters placed. This time around, Mickelson's hope is that they crush that number.
"Any more than two is the expectation," he said, "but we have the numbers to win.
"I know anyone who has five or more (lifters qualifying for State) has the opportunity to win State. We're definitely above that line."
So what would it mean if, when the final weight clangs back onto the rack, Moss Point has the points in their favor?
"That would be huge," Mickelson said. "Words can't describe how elated I would be."
One of the main attractions Saturday will be Beaton. The Jones County Junior College football signee really opened eyes at South State in March when he set new marks in the 275-pound weight class with his 800-pound squat and 1,790 point total. Those are lofty numbers, but Beaton is looking for more on the state's largest powerlifting stage.
"Unfinished business," Harrison Central coach Robert Browne said. "Jordon still thinks he has more in the tank . If you ask him, our motto is hard work and dedication. That's all we know. If you work for it you can achieve it."
Aaron Rainey (220) is also hoping to set a few marks of his own -- specifically the all-time squat record in his weight class.
Those two combined, Browne said, have made him proud.
"They have left a legacy for Harrison Central powerlifting," he said. "Bryce Ramsey as a ninth-grader wants to be the next Jordon Beaton."
Admirals on the move
D'Iberville will enter Saturday as the Class 6A favorite, returning the bulk of the 2015 championship squad that ended up running away with the title. This year, the Warriors are aware Oak Grove and Gulfport pose very real threats to their repeat bid.
The Admirals, led by Sudduth and Foster, qualified nine lifters for State, compared with D'Iberville's eight.
The Warriors edged the Admirals at South State and GHS coach Ron Brewer is hopeful his team can give D'Iberville a fight one more time.
"A few other things go our way, and we win South State," he said Wednesday. "Coach (Josh) Ladner and those guys have a heckuva team every year. They're always the ones everybody else is chasing. For me to say we're not looking at them and they don't have a bull's-eye on their back, I'd be lying.
" My expectation is just for these guys to go in and do the best they can and let the numbers fall where they may. I just want our guys to do their best. If they do that, I think we have as good of a chance as any."
Gautier will take four lifters to state, led by John Triplett (275) and Cameron Williams (308-plus).
"They have had a really good training cycle so I'm expecting big things from them," GHS coach Richard Crosby said. "Right now, their mentality is they want to win."
Crosby called this year's run to state a "business trip" after his Gators came close to "breaking through" a year ago.
"They brought video games last year," he said. "I don't think anybody will be bringing games this year."