ELLISTOWN - The East Union won their fifth consecutive Class I Girls North Half Powerlifting title last week as they held off a very strong Bruce team to win by a 73-51 total. East Union won nine gold medals to secure the top spot.
"Bruce has gotten really good this year and Charleston has moved down into 2A so Charleston has always had a really good powerlifting team, East Union coach Scot Duley said. "The key for us when we were matched up against Charleston one-on-one and against Bruce one-on-one or when they were in our weight classes, we had to finish in front of them.
"Otherwise, it would have been a very different outcome and so we had some kids that did a really great job at that, Mary Herod was one of them. Our little freshman, Bethany Hazel, did that and won a gold medal as a 97-pounder.
Hazel took her weight class by a margin of 445 to 435 over Rileigh Griffin of Bruce.
Herod was the silver medalist in the 114-pound class, but her points (595) were crucial to helping the Lady Urchins win the overall team title.
Yilah Isby of East Union dominated the 114 class as she set four North Half records and finished with a total of 725 points.
Harleigh Wheelington won for the Lady Urchins in the 105-pound class with a total of 570 points as she defeated Charleston's Keely Buckley by 15 pounds.
"Harleigh deadlifted 260 pounds even thought she is only in the 105 weight class to do that to finish where we needed her," Duley said.
Maggie McVey won the 148-pound class on the strength of her impressive squat of 290 which was 25 pounds more than her closest competitor from Bruce. McVey told gold by 10 points.
"Maggie had to finish in front of two Bruce girls and it was very close and if she had finished third instead of first, it would have been a very different outcome," Duley said.
Jessie Roberts won the 123-pound class with 620 points which bettered her second place competitor from Charleston by 60 pounds.
Kaitie Boatner won the 132-pound class with 745 points while teammate Carrie Wilkinson was second with 670 points.
Emma Boatner won the 198-pound class with a 905 total and she shattered four North Half records on the way to the win which was 180 pounds better than her second place competitor.
Macey Moorhead won the 165 class with her final total of 815 which bettered her competitor from Bruce by 50 pounds.
Liz Hall took the 242 class with a total of 810 for the gold which bettered Emma Schmitz of Bruce by 70 points.
"Angie Owen, the Bruce coach has done an excellent job with her program," Duley said.
Duley saud that his Lady Urchins try to be well-rounded in all their lifts - squat, bench press and deadlift, but a key component is getting off to a great start in the squat.
"If we are kinda known for anything, it is probably squat because I focus a lot on that because it is the first lift of the meet," Duley said.
"If you have a good squat, it kinda allows you to be conservative for the rest of the time. If you have a bad squat, it just puts you in a terrible position, so yeah, we're really known for our squat."
East Union's Lady Urchins will go for their fifth state title on April 4 at the State Powerlifting Championships in Jackson.