Clifton’s Finney wins bronze medal in 198-pound class at THSPA’s Div. 3 State Powerlifting Championships; Meridian’s Bowers places fifth in Div. 4 165-pound class
Earning a spot among the Texas High School Powerlifting Association’s elite, Clifton junior Riley Finney made the most of his opportunity at the THSPA’s Division 3 State Championships held March 24 at the Taylor County Expo Center in Abilene.
Awarded the Outstanding Bench Presser at the state meet with a lift of 455 pounds, Finney placed third overall in the 198-pound weight class behind state champion Mario Diaz of Lytle and silver medalist Amar Love of DeKalb.
“We are all very proud of what Riley has accomplished this season,” Clifton powerlifting head coach James Humphreys said. “He has achieved an elite lifter status. It all comes from his hard work and determination. Finishing third in state is very difficult, especially in 198-pound class. He’s a junior, so no telling what next season holds for him. I’m proud to be his coach.”
With a squat of 575 pounds and a deadlift of 535 pounds, Finney finished with a total weight of 1,565 pounds while Diaz won the state title with a total of 1,625, followed by Love with 1,610 pounds.
Leaving no doubt he belonged at the state meet with a dominating performance, Finney won the gold medal at the Texas High School Powerlifting Association’s Region 2, Division 3 Championships held March 18 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 state meet.
“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.”
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.
After taking four Cubs to the regional championships, Humphreys expressed pride in their accomplishments this season while being excited about what lies ahead.
“They are an exciting, hard working group of athletes,” Humphreys said. “I’m very proud of the boys team. Overall, they are a very hard-working discipline group of young men. With no seniors, the boys team was very young this year. Anytime you want to find these boys, just look in the weight room, they will be there lifting. They love lifting.”
Meridian’s Bowers sets personal bests to bring home medal
Rising to the occasion under the brightest spotlight, Meridian senior Dustan Bowers put on a power display March 25 and brought home the hardware to prove it.
Competing at the Texas High School Powerlifting Association Division 3 State Championships in the Taylor County Coliseum in Abilene, Bowers set personal records in all three disciplines – squat, bench press and deadlift — for a total of 1,275 pounds in the 165-pound weight class to finish in a three-way tie for fifth with Brayden May of Kerens and Kaleb Flake of Alvord. Weighing in at 161.6 pounds, Bowers was awarded fifth place due to weighing 0.4 of a pound less than the other two competitors.
LaPryor’s Valentin Garza claimed the state championship with a total of 1,460 pounds followed by silver medalist Rickey Melendez of Sundown with 1,385, and bronze medalist Michael Fulton of Roscoe Collegiate with 1355.
“Congratulations to Dustan for placing fifth and taking home a medal at the THSPA State Powerlifting Meet,” Meridian powerlifting head coach Jim Kerbow said. “It’s amazing that he set personal bests in all three lifts. We are extremely proud of his efforts and perseverance this season. And that was a great way to represent Jacket Nation.”
Bowers set PRs in squat with 495 pounds, bench press with 255 pounds, and deadlift with 525 pounds, which ranked second-best in the 165-pound weight class.
Competing in the THSPA’s Region 2, Division 4 Championships March 18 at West High School, Bowers captured the silver medal in the 165-pound weight class to earn a trip to the state meet.
Entering the THSWA regional meet ranked third in his weight class, Bowers tied for the best squat with a lift of 480 pounds and finished with a three-discipline total of 1,230 pounds as Roscoe Collegiate’s Michael Fulton claimed the gold medal with a total of 1,265 pounds.
Led by Bowers, Meridian sent three lifters to the regional meet – Austin Pogue, who entered the regional meet ranked 11th in the 165-pound weight class, and Cesar Ramos, who stood at 10th in the 114-pound weight class with the top two in each weight class advancing to state.
In the process of claiming the silver medal, Bowers posted personal best in squat as well as bench press with a lift of 250 pounds. Pogue placed eighth with a total of 1,005 pounds.
“I thought our boys had a great day at the regional powerlifting meet,” Meridian powerlifting head coach Jim Kerbow said. “Dustan was a lockout away from first place and setting a personal best in the deadlift. We are very proud of their effort.”
Photos by WENDY OROZCO
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