|Four-peat for Cats|
|The Press - Sports|
|Written by Bob Gerard|
|Wednesday, 20 April 2011 13:19|
Three times may be the charm, but four times spells dynasty.
The Wildcat weight lifting team hoisted its fourth state championship and did it with a flair, smashing the record for total points by eight. In so doing, not only did Scott McDonald’s lifters win the state title this past weekend in Kissimmee, FL they did it by demolishing the competition.
The Wildcats defeated Blountstown, their nearest competitor, by 24 points and beat last year’s runners up Arnold by 25. The Cats’ 44 points more than doubled the 20 collected by Blountstown.
It was a runaway.
Senior Rueben Jackson won his second straight state title in the 219-pound class and Kendrick Singleton, Ray Mangiafico and Jeremy Wannamaker won runners-up medals.
Jackson had a 385-pound bench press and a 300-pound clean and jerk for a 685 total. He beat second place Jake Howard of Atlantic by 25 pounds.
Singleton had a 640-pound total in the 183-pound class. Wannamaker finished with a 635-pound total in the 199-pound class. Mangiafico barely missed winning the heavyweight division. He finished with a 730 total, the same as top finisher Anthony Descantoli of Matanzas, but was 30 pounds heavier than Descantoli, so the title went to the lifter who weighed less.
Other outstanding results went to Maruice Baker and Hunter Sullivan, who placed third, and Trace McCullough who placed fourth.
Though Coach Scott McDonald has four state medals to hang around his neck, the feeling of accomplishment never dims. McDonald was especially proud of his senior lifters.
“Every state championship is just as sweet as the last,” said McDonald. “But this one is very special to me. These kids have been a part of all four state championship wins and that is a huge deal.”
The team worked hard all year long building up muscle and improving weight totals. McDonald and his coaches drilled technique, particularly in the tricky clean and jerk, which requires as much skill as strength.
As more and more of the lifters qualified for the state meet with strong performances during the season at qualifying meets, the Wildcats’ chances for a repeat got better and better.
In the end, McDonald qualified 14 lifters, the most he has ever taken to the state tournament. But despite being the prohibitive favorite, the team still was up against strong challengers, including Blountstown and Arnold, who they beat by a single point last year.
The Wildcats traveled to the meet highly motivated to get the job done.
“They went down with a purpose or mission and completed that mission in Wildcat fashion,” said McDonald. The team started strong, breaking the 1A state series point total of 36 in the first half of the meet by amassing 37 points.
It was clear that the Cats had the meet in the bag at that point, but McDonald and his coaches had taught their lifters not to let up when opponents were on the ropes.
“We were not finished there. After the second half we had scored 44 points and clinched our fourth consecutive state title,” beamed McDonald. “All 14 lifters did their job. I’m very proud to be a Wildcat and to have been able to be around a great bunch of young men that share the same passion and enthusiasm that I have.”
He has not lost that passion or enthusiasm and though he is losing a lot of lifters to graduation, he’ll be working hard to climb that winner’s podium again next year.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 22 December 2011 12:23|