VWSD adds girls’ powerlifting as a sport

Published 9:20 am Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Vicksburg High and Warren Central are adding another new sport to their lineup.

Girls powerlifting has been added to the schools’ offerings as a varsity sport, and will begin competition in the 2016-17 school year. The addition was approved at a recent meeting of the Vicksburg Warren School District.

VWSD athletic director Preston Nailor said girls’ powerlifting has been a frequent request over the years. Interest has waxed and waned, but he said it seemed like the right time to add it. It’s also part of an effort to improve the overall status of the district’s athletics program.

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“I want to bring an all-sports award to Warren County, and the only way to do that is to offer as many sports as possible,” Nailor said. “This is an opportunity for the girls to do something that they didn’t have an opportunity to do before.”

Boys’ powerlifting coaches Bubba Nettles and Chad McMullin will also coach the girls’ teams at Vicksburg and Warren Central, respectively. Tryouts are planned for later this month, and the season runs from November through April.

Bubba Nettles

Bubba Nettles

A total of 100 schools in the Mississippi High School Activities Association participate in girls’ powerlifting. Vicksburg and Warren Central will compete in Class III, which includes schools that are in Class 5A and 6A in most other sports. There are 46 teams in Class III.

“We’ve talked about it for a long time. There’s always been three or four girls interested, but never a big enough number to do it,” McMullin said. “I’m excited about it. Six or seven years ago we could have put a team together and contended for state. Now I think I can put a team together that can be pretty good. If we can hit the ground running, I think we can be good.”

Besides providing another sport, the addition of girls’ powerlifting is expected to have another big benefit. Free weights have been purchased to replace machines in the girls’ fieldhouses at both schools. Instead of sharing a weight room with the boys, that will allow female athletes to train in their own facility and should help with strength and conditioning work in a number of other sports.

“We’re going to take the machines out and give them free weights, championship weights, for them to get bigger, faster and stronger, and then they won’t have to share with the boys. That gives the girls something to call their own,” Nailor said.

Girls’ powerlifting is the second sport in as many years to be added to the VWSD’s offerings. Archery was added in 2015. It’s also unlikely to be the last, if Nailor has his way. He said he wants to add bowling — a sport played by 62 MHSAA schools — in the next 3-5 years even though Vicksburg doesn’t have a bowling alley.

It’s all part of raising the athletic profile of Warren County’s two public high schools, and trying to get them caught up to other Class 5A and 6A programs, he said.

“We were so far behind everybody else. When you walk into our weight rooms, our gyms, even some of our schools you see it,” Nailor said. “My vision is to shake things up and make it better. It’s been good, but we want it to be great.”

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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