Gators lay claim to first state title

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 14, 2003

At long last, Vicksburg High is over the hump.

The Gators got record-setting performances from Phelan Gray, Darrell Williams, and Justin Randle to finally overcome longtime nemesis Madison Central and win their first state championship in powerlifting Friday at Pearl.

“It was a tremendous team effort. It was close, everybody knew they had a role, and they filled it,” VHS coach Robert Erves said.

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Gray, Williams, and Randle each won individual state titles in their respective weight class and set meet records in the process. Gray, the 242-pound champion, set a record for total weight with 1,565 pounds, Randle lifted 1,465 total pounds and set a meet record with a 610-pound deadlift, and Williams’ 1,340 total pounds set a state record and helped him repeat as the 165-pound state champion.

Still, it took until the final lifter for Vicksburg to clinch the team title.

Super heavyweight Derrick Hinkle finished second to Warren Central’s Deonta Selvy, giving the Gators five points and putting them over the top.

Vicksburg finished with 40 points, while Madison was second with 37. Natchez was third with 27, and St. Martin was fourth with 18.

In addition to the three state champions, VHS had three second-place finishers. Besides Hinkle, 114-pounder Lorenzo Williams and 123-pounder Quinnard Wilson also placed second. Wilson actually tied for first place, but lost the state title based on body weight.

VHS’ Anthony Sanders was fourth in the 165-pound weight class, and Darius Williams was fourth in the 148-pound division.

Vicksburg and Madison were tied at 21 points apiece after the lightweight lifters, and the heavyweights helped the Gators pull away.

“The heavyweight division was when it really started to separate,” Erves said. “The big dogs came through in the end, that’s the heavyweights.”

Another big man that came through was WC’s Selvy. Battling an ankle injury he suffered early this week, the Viking senior missed on his first two squat attempts and was nearly disqualified.

He squatted 595 pounds on his final attempt, and went on to beat Hinkle by 100 total pounds. Selvy tied a school record with a 330-pound bench press, and also deadlifted 570 pounds to finish with 1,495 total pounds. Hinkle totaled 1,395 pounds.

“After being on crutches Monday and Tuesday, he pulled it off,” WC coach Chad McMullin said. “He was just a warrior all year.”

WC’s only other lifter in the meet, Danny Robinson, was forced to move up a weight class when he came in three pounds overweight. Robinson, normally a 132-pound lifter, competed in the 148-pound division and finished sixth.

His total weight was a personal best, however, and McMullin took responsibility for Robinson not making weight.

“He was basically a fish out of water there,” McMullin said. “If he would have made his weight, he would have had third locked up.”