Escambia Academy’s 35-member weightlifting team captured seven individual state championships, including three lifters who broke state records, while seven others were either runners-up or took third place in the AISA Region 3 Weightlifting Championships, held at Pickens Academy this week.
Trae Lee (heavyweight), Kris Brown (middleweight) and Chase Bell (lightweight) each were named outstanding lifter overall in his classification. Lee and Brown each hoisted 600 pounds to set new state deadlift records for their weight groups, while Bell’s 300-pound bench press set a new state benchmark in his class.
“I thought that was amazing, those 600-pound deadweights,” Coach Hugh Fountain said.
In the squat, bench and deadlift combined, Lee lifted 1,480 pounds. Brown lifted 1,385 and Bell hefted 670 as the defending champion Cougars squad finished second.
“It was a good meet,” said Fountain. “We had 10 first-place finishes in 2014, and just seven this year, but I’m proud of the effort we had.”
The team’s chances at another state title were hampered by the AISA’s scoring system, which combined the total weight of each school’s male and female competitors.
“I wish they’d change that,” said Fountain, whose team had only one female competitor. (The lone EA girl, Cassidy Murphy was state runner-up among female lifters.) “Our boys performed well, and our one girl did well, but she was the only girl we had, and that made the difference.”
Escambia Academy’s four other state title-winners and their respective weight classes were: Heath Scheldt (132 pounds); JoJo Carpenter (205); Cameron Armentor (232), and Jamie Welker (242).
The Cougars had three boys who were state runners-up: Brandon Gulsby (114); Treyce Sells (123), and Thomas Knight (232). Three others – Patrick McGhee (198), Pate Robinson (205) and Tyler Newton (275) – earned third-place trophies.
News photo by Ditto Gorme