ALMA -- Benton fell just short of winning the overall title last year at the State Weightlifting Championship. The Panthers didn't let that opportunity slip past them again Saturday at Charles B. Dyer Arena.
Benton pulled away as the Class 6A/7A champion along with the overall championship by lifting a team total of 5,155 pounds led by a record-setting performance from Jake Wright.
"It was awesome seeing the guys come out here and put a lot of work into winning a state championship," Benton football coach Brad Harris said. "We knew we had a chance to win the classification and the overall title. Last year we got beat out by Booneville by just a few pounds."
Alma was able to win the title in Class 5A by finishing with a total of 4,750 pounds lifted. Batesville Southside finished with a total of 4,730 to pick up the Class 4A championship. Rison pulled away in Class 3A, lifting a total of 4,710. Fordyce had a team total of 5,010 to win in Class 2A.
"We got edged out last year," Alma football coach Doug Loughridge said. "We had a scratch, and you can't overcome that when you get nothing from a weight class. This year we did a great job. I thought a lot of really good football teams competed out here."
Wright helped set the tone early for Benton breaking the state record in the 165-pound weight class with a power clean of 325 pounds in the first half of the meet. He lifted 315 to break the original record of 300 before setting the mark again with his final attempt.
Wright also finished with a bench press of 265 for a total of 590 pounds to pull away with the 165 division overall championship.
"Getting that state record is awesome," Wright said. "I put a bunch of work into this six days a week. We have been working for this day for a while now. With you putting all the work in and doing something like this, it is worth it."
The majority of competitors at the meet are usually football players working toward getting stronger for next season. But with Wright not a part of the football team, he just has a passion for lifting weights and wanted to help the team out.
"It's different not being a part of the football team because everybody knows each other," Wright said. "I just walked in and said, 'Let's do this.' It was different and cool meeting everybody in this journey."
Benton got another first-place finish from Monterio Mack, who picked up the title in the 148 weight class. He power cleaned 225 pounds and benched 280 pounds for a 505 total.
"I got a new personal record on both events while here," Mack said. "You have to bring your best when you are facing a lot of good teams. I feel like they push me more to do my best."
Kris Wright was able to finish second in the heavyweight division with a total of 610 pounds lifted for Benton. The Panthers also got top five performances in other weight classes with strong finishes from John Dirst, Beau Wright, D'Anthony Harper and Tre Maxwell.
"I didn't quite get any personal records today, but I was able to help the team out," Beau Wright said. "We won last year, so we wanted to come back and get the overall this time."
Harris said he puts a lot of value in the weightlifting meet as a goal for his players to compete against other teams at a high level trying to get better.
"We really like coming to weight meets," Harris said. "It gives our guys who are not in other sports an opportunity to come out here and have a little fun instead of being in the daily grind."
Benton finished its football season with a 10-3 record and made it to the Class 6A state championship game before falling to Greenwood. Harris now hopes the weightlifting state title helps to carry over to another championship next football season.
"We are excited about where we are right now, and hopefully this pays off for us heading into football season," Harris said. "We don't try to base too much on what we do here on football season. But when we do well here, it usually carries over."
Jardon Allen helped Fordyce place first in its classification with a first-place performance in the heavyweight division. Quartey Shelton also finished first in the 181 weight class for the Redbugs.
Austin Foster placed first for Booneville in the 132 weight class. The Bearcats nearly picked up a team title in Class 3A but fell short with a scratch.
Ethan Holmes picked up the overall championship in the 123 weight division for Junction City with a total of 360.
Kevontae Haynes, also of Junction City, lifted a total of 590 pounds, which allowed him to pick up the overall title in the 198 weight class.
In the 220 division, Keelan Stanley of Sylvan Hills pulled away for the championship with the help of a meet-high 365 bench press within the weight class.
Austin Shultz of Green County Tech helped his team with the 242 weight class title, which was aided by a division-high 405 pounds lifted on the bench.
Daniel Hicks pulled away with the 259 weight class championship finishing with a total of 630 for Camden Harmony Grove.
Arkansas High School Weightlifting Championships
at Charles B. Dyer Arena, Alma
Team weight results
- Benton 5,155
- Lake Hamilton 4,935
- Springdale 3,665
- Alma 4,750
- Green County Tech 4,675
- Farmington 4,110
- Batesville Southside 4,730
- Mena 4,555
- Fountain Lake 4,495
- Trumann 4,480
- Rison 4,710
- Booneville 4,60
- Danville 4,440;
- Fordyce 5,010
- Junction City 4,690
- Salem 4,570
- Jarod Allen, Fordyce, 620; 2. Kris Wright, Benton, 610; 3. Hayden Black, Prairie Grove, 600.
- Daniel Hicks, Camden Harmony Grove, 630; 2. Oscar Pinedo, Mt. Ida, 620; 3. Zion Barnes, Mena, 590.
- Austin Shultz, Green County Tech, 705; 2. Blayne Toll, Hazen, 670; 3. Noah Milligan, Trumann, 650.
- Keelan Stanley, Sylvan Hills, 650; 2. Devin Smith, Green County Tech, 610; 3. Caleb Hyatt, Magazine, 610.
- Kevontae Haynes, Junction City, 590; 2. Alex Palmer, Batesville Southside, 560; 3. Carson Ray, Booneville, 560.
- Quartey Shelton, Fordyce, 600; 2. Jordan Turner, Salem, 550; 3. Ben Henley, Alma, 550.
- Jake Wright, Benton, 590; 2. ShunDerrick Powell, Hoxie, 520; 3. Noah Swall, Mena, 520.
- Monterio Mack, Benton, 505; 2. Julian Weatherford, White Hall, 495; 3. Tristen Tate, Camden Harmony Grove 480.
- Austin Foster, Booneville, 480; 2. Nick Moore, Cedarville, 440; 3. Trey Hudson, Fordyce, 440.
- Ethan Holmes, Junction City, 360; 2. Dawson Stuckey, Rison, 340; 3. Landon Dulaney, Hoxie, 340.
Sports on 04/21/2019