On Saturday, three Cleveland High student-athletes will compete in the 4A State Powerlifting Meet in Jackson.
Tony Cooper, Garrett McGee and Andonte Maxie have proven that they are some of the best in their weight division and will look to add a powerlifting title to their athletic resumes.
That task will prove a challenge for Maxie and McGee as they both compete in the same 148-pound weight class. Cooper is in the 114-pound class.
In the North State meet the trio turned in strong performances allowing them to qualify for Saturday's meet.
Last season, Cooper and Maxie made it to the state meet with Cooper finishing second (114-weight class) and Maxie taking third (148-weight class).
This season, Cleveland High head coach Kelly Causey believes all three lifters have a chance to get on the podium.
"Andonte and Tony both have a great shot at winning it all,” Causey said. “Tony right now is third based on what he did in the North and South State and Andonte is second, but we didn't really push Andonte in North Half so he had some weight left out there that hopefully we can get to.”
Causey added that McGee should do well in the meet also.
"Garret finished third in the north meet and he has a good chance to medal,” Causey. “He has been working hard."
For Causey, he sees powerlifting adding a lot to his athletes, especially the ones who compete in other sports.
"The kids enjoy it,” Causey said. “It gives them confidence being able to put more weight on and do other stuff. They wear their suits that help them out a little bit. Most of the kids that are on our powerlifting teams play football, except for Tony.”
For Cooper and Maxie, it will be a chance to follow up with a better performance in this year's meet as compared to 2013.
Last year, the duo competed in the state meet and Cooper finished second in his weight class totaling 775-pounds. Maxie finished third in his weight class totaling 1,130-pounds. When Cooper benched 205 in last year’s meet, he set a state record for his weight class in bench press.
In this year's North Half meet, Cooper's squat was 225-pounds, bench press was 190-pounds and dead lift was 335-pounds for a 750-pound total.
Maxie had a 475-pound squat, 225-pound bench press and 440-pound dead lift for a 1,140-pound total, and McGee turned in a 350-pound squat, 220-pound bench press and 390-pound dead lift for a 960-pound total.
The Wildcats will hit the floor in the first flight of lifters at 8 a.m. Saturday at the Mississippi Coliseum.