Published 12:00 am Friday, January 21, 2005

prep for first meet of season

[1/21/05]The high school powerlifting season doesn’t leave a lot of room for error. For most of the state’s lifters, there’s only one meet to prove themselves before it counts for real.

For Vicksburg and Warren Central, that meet is on Saturday. The two Warren County schools will participate in the Vicksburg Invitational at VHS, along with Port Gibson, Madison Central, Greenville-Weston, Gentry and Hinds AHS.

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It’s the first meet of the season, and one of only two before the Region 3 championships on Feb. 12. VHS and WC will also compete at the Pearl Invitational next weekend.

“We need all the experience we can get,” VHS co-head coach Jeremy Loy said. “We’ve got a young team, so we’re going to take advantage of the two we’ve got before district to find out who our main people are.”

Only one of Vicksburg’s lifters, senior Marcus Stokes, has meet experience. But the Gators won’t be the only ones trying to figure out how everything works on Saturday.

Loy and David Tadlock, the Gators’ other coach, will be running their first meet since taking over for longtime coach Robert Erves.

Erves, who led VHS to the Class 5A state title in 2003, retired last spring and took a load of valuable organizational experience with him.

“Coach Erves did it for so long and did such a great job, and nobody was under him to pass the buck on to,” Loy said. “That’s some big shoes to fill. He’s been successful with powerlifting. That’s why it’s going to take two of us.”

At Warren Central, the coach is the same and so are enough lifters to make the Vikings a factor in most of their meets. WC returns five lifters who advanced to South State or beyond last season, including 308-pounder John Stauts, who finished fifth in the state meet.

“We’re pretty well-stocked. We don’t have a lot of lightweight guys. We’ve got good depth from 165 all the way up to super heavyweight,” WC coach Chad McMullin said. “Our goal is to win a meet this year. We’ve never done that since we started here in 1999.”

McMullin and the Gators’ coaches all said this week’s meet would be a proving ground for their lifters. WC has 21 lifters, Vicksburg has 23, and there are 12 spots available for the region meet.

With the numbers what they are, both squads will split into two groups half competing this week, half the next to find the best dozen lifters for the region meet.

“We want to see where we’re at this first meet. See how the guys react under pressure, out of their comfort zone,” Loy said. “By district, we’ll have it broken down and be ready to go with our main guys.”