The Heard High School weightlifting team made history on Saturday, March 2, 2013 when they captured the GACA Class AA State Weightlifting Championship at the state meet held at Portal High School in South Georgia.
The team competed against 12 other teams including perennial powerhouses Thomasville who finished in second place and Vidalia who maxed out in third.
Junior Tori Rogers led the way for the Braves in the 141-150 weight class, capturing his second consecutive state title.
Rogers was awarded the Jeremy Williams award as the pound for pound strongest lifter. In the 151-160 class, senior Qua Reid also brought home a state championship.
Individual State Champions: Tori Rogers (L) and Qua Reid (R)
Reid followed up a strong runner-up finish in the 2012 competition. Second place finishers included Zac Looney, Austin James, Ta Freeland, and Duranta Dunson.
Grabbing third place medals were Jonathon Hunt, Jace Mock, and Taron Person. Jake Edwards and Hank Barnes each placed fifth while Cody Bell, Dillian Bradley, and Fenuku Shaheed brought home sixth place awards. About 40 Brave lifters traveled to compete in the state event.
The 14 placers far exceeded the expectations of strength coaches Rich Fendley and Tim Barron. “Our kids lifted well within themselves at the meet. When you go to a state meet, it is easy to get caught up in what the other lifters are doing but our kids kept the focus on their own lifts. We were so excited to battle back after falling behind after the squat competition which began the meet,” stated Barron.
The competition consisted of the three major lifts: Squats, bench press, and power cleans.
“Our kids showed a lot of mental toughness in getting some heavy lifts on their second attempts after failing on the first. In this competition lifters cannot go down in weight after an attempt,” added Barron.
The Braves improved on a strong second place finish at last year’s meet where four lifters won state titles. It was the first team state championship of any kind in school history.