in Powerlifting

Clifton’s Finney delivers record-setting performance to win gold at THSPA Region 3 Championship; Lady Cub Kettler places fifth, Ritz sets personal records at state meet Thursday

After the triumphant trio earned trips to the state powerlifting championship, Clifton’s iron-pumping Kambrie Kettler, Cameron Ritz and Riley Finney were continuing to improve and appeared far from done.

Competing in the Texas High School Women Powerlifting Association’s Small 3A State Championship Thursday at the Comerica Center in Frisco, Kettler claimed the fifth place medal in the 132-pound weight class, while Ritz set three personal records in the 123-pound weight class.

“I’m very proud of Kambrie and Cameron,” Clifton powerlifting head coach James Humphreys said.  “They are very hardworking young ladies that earned their spot in state competition. It’s a lifetime experience they will always remember. They make me proud to be able to coach and be a part of their journey.”

Leaving no doubt with a dominating performance, Finney won the gold medal at the Texas High School Powerlifting Association’s Region 2, Division 3 Championships held last Saturday at West High School. By winning the 198-pound weight class with a new regional record of 1,625 total pounds, Finney earned a trip to the THSPA’s Division 3 State Championships to be held March 24 at the Taylor County Expo Center in Abilene.

“I am very proud of Riley,” Humphreys said. “He has put a lot of hard work to get to this level of competition. He has a huge drive to compete and win.”

At the girls state powerlifting meet, Kettler placed fifth with a total of 770 pounds over the three disciplines – 295 in squad, 175 in bench press and 300 in deadlift 300. Elkhart’s Rhealee Sander won the gold medal with a total of 855 pounds, just ahead of silver medalist Jaycie Grisham of Howe with 850.

Cameron finished with personal records in bench (130 pounds) and deadlift (265 pounds) while establishing a new personal best by 30 pounds in total weight 640 pounds to place 12th. Merkel’s Avery Chacon captured became the state champion with a total 830 pounds despite tying Brinklie Brown of New Diana, who weighed 4.2 pounds more than Chacon.

By qualifying an unprecedented 17 lifters for the Texas High School Women’s Powerlifting Association’s Region 2, Small Class 3A Championships, the Clifton Lady Cubs enjoyed success on both the individual and team categories on March 4 in Dublin. With nine Lady Cubs placing in the top five of their respective weight classes, senior Kambrie Kettler and sophomore Cameron Ritz advanced to the state meet while the Clifton girls tied for third place in the region as a team.

In qualifying for state, Kettler captured the gold medal in the 132-pound weight class, lifting a total of 790 pounds to win by 130 pounds over silver medalist Kylie Weeks of Anderson-Shiro. In the process, Kettler was named the overall Outstanding Lifter in her class and received the Outstanding Squat award with a lift of 310 pounds.

Also advancing to state, Ritz won the silver medal in the 123-pound weight class with a total of 610 pounds behind gold medalist Sara Rincon-Morales of Walls Brazos with 635.

“We tied for third place as a team, but received fourth since another school had more first place finishers,” Humphreys said. “We had four girls finish third and almost qualified. These girls are all underclassmen, so the future looks great.”

Also earning team points by placing in the top five of their respective classes, sophomore Cecil Sydney placed fourth in the 105-pound class, junior Alyssa Santillan placed third in the 114-pound class, junior Kate Humphreys won the bronze medal while teammate Lexi Montes placed fourth in the 148-pound class, sophomore Kaitlyn Baker placed fourth in the 165-pound class, sophomore Lenora Busby won the bronze medal and received Outstanding Deadlift award in the 181-pound class, while sophomore Taryn Busby captured the bronze medal in the 220-pound class.

“I am very proud of every girl that lifted this season,” Humphreys said. “I love seeing their smile each time they PR. These girls have put in a lot of time and effort, and each individual lifter has a story of their own. It makes me proud to be a part of hard-working ladies that love the sport of powerlifting.”

In addition to setting the THSPA regional total weight record to be named the meet’s Outstanding Lifter, Finney also broke the regional bench press mark with a 450-pound lift to earn the Outstanding Bench Press Award. But that’s not all as Finney win the Outstanding Deadlift award with 575 pounds, and posted the best squat in the weight class with 600 pounds.

Putting up the second-best bench press in the 181-pound weight class, Cub junior Levi Knox placed sixth with a total of 1,265 pounds as Rockdale’s Bryce Flowers took the gold medal with 1,500 total pounds and Evan Chavers of Fairfield put up 1,445 pounds to claim the silver medal.

In the 123-pound weight class, Clifton freshman Judd New placed seventh with 780 total pounds and sophomore teammate Xavier Quintero finished 11th with a total of 675 pounds as Darson Daniel of Rogers captured the gold medal with 1,030 pounds and Brady’s Michael Martinez totaled 995 pounds to earn trips to the state meet.

Going into the regional championships, New ranked sixth in 123-pound class, Quintero ranked 11th in 123-pound class, Knox ranked sixth in 181-pound class, and Finney entered as the top-ranked lifter in the 198-pound class.

“They are an exciting, hard working group of athletes,” Humphreys said. “I’m very proud of the boys and girls teams. Overall, they are a very hard-working discipline group of young men and women. With no seniors, the boys team is very young this year. But there are some really good up and coming talent on the boys team. Anytime you want to find these boys, just look in the weight room, they will be there lifting. They love lifting.”


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