ALEXANDRIA — On the first day of varsity competition at the USA Powerlifting High School National Championships at the Riverfront Center three area lifters were crowned National Champions Friday night.
Lutcher’s Quamecca Stafford had the top performance on the day locally, winning the 114-pound crown with a total lift of 898 pounds. Stafford's efforts earned her the Most Outstanding female lifter.
“Today was a whole lot of fun,” Stafford said. “At first, I thought I got off to a great start in the squat (330 pounds) but got a little tired in the bench press. Luckily, I was able to bounce back and finish strong in the dead lift to come out on top.”
Stafford improved on all three of her dead lifts, starting at 325, increasing to 363 and finishing things off with a dead lift of 396 pounds.
“I hyped myself back up for the dead lift, and it worked in my favor,” she said. “I love powerlifting. I like the attention sometimes, but in the end, I just try to do my best when I compete. That’s all I can do.”
Covington’s Logan Pennington, who was unsure he would even lift Friday because of lower body injury and a move up in weight class, outlifted second-place finisher Brady Becker of Pope John Paul II by 11 pounds to claim the 145-pound championship 1,278-1,267.
“Because of what I had to go through, this makes things even more sweet,” Pennington said. "I honestly didn’t know whether I was going to be able to lift. My time was spent really recovering, not training. So much of my approach was to come into this meet and just do the best that I could do. I was fortunate enough to beat a lot of great lifters to come out on top.”
Two Slidell lifters battled for the girls 94-pound crown as JeLynn Cheatham came out on top over classmate Lyssa Reynolds. Chetham finished with a cumulative lift of 699 pounds, compared to 545 pounds from Reynolds.
Other national runner-up finishes locally came from Cara Scott of Covington at girls 114 pounds (738 pounds), Cara Hayes of Lakeshore at girls 103 pounds (raw) (501 pounds) and Lane Morello of Covington High at boys 116 pounds (876 pounds).