For five Lake Cormorant High School powerlifters, there is still the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) state meet later this month in Jackson.
But they will enter that meet at Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson on April 21 knowing they are already members of a national championship team.
Lake Cormorant brought home the USA Powerlifting High School National Championship team title last month in Appleton, Wis. The 10-member squad became the first Mississippi team ever to win the crown.
At the same time, Cordarius Harris won an individual title for the second straight year and Gator teammate Jaylen Jordan also won a national championship.
Harris won gold at 59 kilograms and Jordan at 74 kilograms.
Martavious Strowder was second at 53 kilograms and Roydetric Harris finished fourth in the same weight class.
The Gators scored 59 team points during the meet, with second-place Neenah, Wis. taking second with 34.
“I thought it was going to be a little closer than that going into the second day,” said head coach Colton Ellis. “We knew we were in first place because we had four guys medal in the first day. We also had another guy who got top six, so we knew we were in the lead. In day two, our big guys just carried us through and they all got top-seven finishes and helped us bring it home.”
Harris, who last year brought home a world championship as a member of Team USA at the International Powerlifting Federation Under 19 event, actually gave up the opportunity to compete again in the world meet by joining his high school teammates at nationals, according to Ellis.
He was bothered by a pre-meet injury coming into the Wisconsin national finals.
“Cordarius Harris had a tweaked hamstring going into this, so we moved him up one weight class and he still ended up placing gold,” said Ellis. “Jaylen Jordan did a personal best in his raw deadlift to win against a Neenah (Wis.) High School guy. Randy McDonald got a personal best for bench press with 314 pounds, Jemario Harris pulled a personal best on deadlift and R.J. Morton also pulled a personal best with 485 pounds in deadlift.”
Ellis said his team, the relative rookies in national high school powerlifting, are now making a name for themselves on the national scene.
“A lot of teams supported us,” said Ellis. “They were very impressed with our guys. We had so many teams come up and compliment us on how strong our guys were and how well they were behaved.”
The first-year head coach added that there were also some teams that helped the Gators out when they needed it during the competition.
“At the end of day one, when Jaylen (Jordan) was battling it out, we had some equipment issues and they actually told us that we couldn’t use our belts anymore,” Ellis said. “Teams stepped up and let our guys borrow their equipment and that was really huge in helping us bring this thing home.”
The national recognition is not lost on school Principal Rhonda Guice, who noted the team’s accomplishment.
“They are very dedicated to their sport, represent our school well, and put in a lot of hours and a lot of hard work,” Guice said. “Just knowing you’re on the front end of that as it grows is exciting as it gives a lot of men and young women a chance to compete.”
Along with Ellis, Jonathan Suh is an assistant coach and former head coach Nick Dowdy also coaches the team, along with strength work with the University of Memphis football program.
Bob Bakken is Sports Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.