By JOEL COLEMAN
As today's Mississippi High School Activities Association State Powerlifting event takes place in Jackson, East Webster coach Doug Wilson's group could be considered a bit unique.
Of five individuals from East Webster competing in the Class 2A festivities at the Mississippi Coliseum, three are seniors, quite the rarity as a large portion of upperclassmen choose to forego the rigors of a sport such as powerlifting to enjoy their final days as a high school student.
For those three seniors, Hunter Cunningham, Timarkis Bell and Jaqualin McCurry, Wilson is proud of the dedication the trio has shown.
"It's sort of rare to have seniors stay in the weight room after football season and work," said Wilson. "They've all three continued to work hard. Going into things, (Cunningham) and (Bell) are actually in first place, so hopefully we can hold on to that."
The work ethic of Cunningham, Bell and McCurry are no surprise to Wilson. After all, the three were key components of the East Webster senior class that helped the Wolverines to a Class 2A, Region 2 football championship in the fall.
"They've transitioned right on from football season," said Wilson. "They are all just a hard working group."
Joining Cunningham, Bell and McCurry in Jackson are sophomore Brandon Tallent and 8th grader Marques Reives.
All five of East Webster's competitors will battle in separate weight classes today with Tallent in the 123-pound class, Reives in the 132-pound class, McCurry in the 198-pound class, Bell in the 275-pound class and Cunningham in the 308-and-above class.
Joining the East Webster powerlifters in Jackson will be nine individuals from Eupora.
Eupora actually qualified 10 for today's event, but 8th grader Rusty Johnson will be unable to compete due to injury.
Led by coach Stephen Edwards, the Eupora participants include 9th grader Javoris Draine and sophomore George Starks in the 165-pound class, freshman Tamoris Draine and sophomore Lazerick Davis in the 181-pound class, sophomore Savon Daughtry in the 198-pound class, sophomore grader Vandy Smith in the 220-pound class, junior Brandon Reeves in the 242-pound class, sophomore Elliot Stroud in the 275-pound class and junior Daulton Newman in the 308-pound class.
Edwards suggests the large number of underclassmen competing from Eupora should help the school continue to achieve success on the football field.
"All these kids play football and we're hoping that this helps us," said Edwards. "A lot of these kids will be starters for us next year so we think this can pay dividends."
Today's events begin at 8 a.m. with the 114 to 181-pound weight classes. The 198-pound-and-up group will begin their lifts at 2:30 p.m.