Powerlifting: Seniors close careers at state

By Travis Lisle | Published Wednesday, March 25, 2015

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Wise County will have four lifters heading to the state powerlifting meet at the Taylor County Expo Center in Abilene Saturday.

Dakota Williams and Jacob Hartsell will be competing from Decatur, while Tyler Jennings and Bronson Burks will represent Bridgeport.

All four of the lifters are seniors and will be making their state debuts.

“They’ve worked hard since they were freshmen and it kind of worked out this year,” said Decatur coach Scott Warner about his two lifters. “It’s special. They’re excited about going.”

Williams and Hartsell are close friends and played on the Eagles offensive line together.

Their friendship has made the accomplishment even more special.

“They’ve always lifted together since they were in seventh grade,” Warner added. “They always do everything together, so it’s nice that they have this to share with each other.”

In last year’s regional meet, Bronson Burks’ third-place finish was only 15 pounds away from the gold medal. The small difference between a state meet appearance and the end to the season was heartbreaking.

Bridgeport coach Davis McAlister is proud of his seniors’ determination after missing the cut last year.

“They made regionals last year and Bronson in particular was not happy with his results,” he said. “I’m proud of him because he told me that he was getting to state almost immediately after finishing third in the region last year and missing the cut. He set his goal and made it.

“Tyler has worked very hard. He had never voiced that it was his goal but he’s worked hard and set new milestones for himself.”

Also attending the meet with Decatur will be seniors Ricky Roberts and Graham Cowdrey.

Roberts and Cowdrey are also seniors who finished third and fourth in their respective weight classes.

They will be attending to help with wrapping and to support their friends in the competition.

Warner said the four have been playing offensive line together since pee-wee football and are all close.

For Bridgeport, the weeks’ work will include normal workouts but also the addition of adding weight. McAlister said that he wants Jennings and Burks to feel the weight of their goals so that they aren’t unfamiliar with it when they get to the meet.

Decatur’s Williams and Hartsell will work out with medium weight for all three lifts this week. In their final workout before heading to Abilene, the two lifters will put on their suits and go through the process of simulating their opening lifts.

The dress rehearsal is not only meant to familiarize them with the opening weight, but also a chance to check all equipment and make sure that everything they need will be on the bus to Abilene.

For Bridgeport, the accomplishment of getting to the state meet just adds to the schools’ historic sports year.

“We think these are the first two boys from Bridgeport to make it to the state meet,” McAlister said. “That’s exciting in itself, especially with the boys basketball team winning state, and the success of the girls basketball team and the solid football season we had. This has been a great year for Bridgeport sports and we’re getting to add to that.”

Lifting will begin at 8:45 and will continue throughout most of the day.

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