By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
Northeast Mississippi schools came home without a team championship from last year’s state powerlifting meet.
With three of the state’s top lifters, Class 4A Pontotoc is hoping to change that this year.
The 2012 Mississippi High School Activities Association state powerlifting championships are Saturday at the Mississippi Coliseum.
Defending champ South Pike is again considered the favorite in 4A. Pontotoc has fewer lifters in the meet, making its individual success the key ingredient.
“There are some key head-to-head races that are going to mean a lot,” Pontotoc coach Ken Byars said.
The Warriors will boast three of the best lifters in their respective classes when the day gets under way at 8 a.m.
Deonte Dilworth enters Saturday 60 pounds behind the state’s top lifter in the 148-pound class, which makes his competition with South Pike’s Chris Pittman a key battle.
“That’s a big-time race for us,” Byars said. “Winning would increase our chances dramatically.”
Junior Chase Miller tops the state in the 198-pound class with a 1,460-pound total. Also ranking first in their classes are senior Devonta Montgomery and sophomore Bailey Wray.
Two-time champion Montgomery enters with a 1,450-pound total in the 242-pound class and Wray’s total in the super heavyweight class is 1,635, the highest total among the top 12.
‘A numbers game’
Colten Bramlett is 4A’s top lifter in the 181-pound class and is in another of those key matchups for Pontotoc. Bramlett won division and North State and is in a tight race with five others Saturday, including James Haworth of Corinth.
“It’s a numbers game, but you can’t look at that. You’ve got to lift the weights,” Byars said. “We hope to go and do the best we can. We’ve got to have the best meet we’ve ever had.”
North Pontotoc’s Mitchell Cunningham has the highest total among 4A’s 220-pounders (1,450 pounds) and is looking for his second straight title in his second year to compete.
Three area girls rank among the state’s top 11. Two Lafayette sophomores rank first in their classes. Cate Clay enters with a 445-pound total in the 97-pound class and Ashley Carter lifted 805 pounds in the 220-pound class.
Nettleton, which finished second in Class I last season, is led by senior Keana Brown with a 575-pound total from the 105-pound class.