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Ashley Ridge High School will pit some of its strong men up against competitors from across the state on March 18.

Ashley Ridge hosted the South Carolina High School Strength Coaches Association Region 7 Meet March 1 and qualified more than a dozen athletes for the association’s state championships to be hosted by Lexington High. Participants in the region meet competed in the squat lift, bench press and broad jump, earning points in each discipline. The competitors with the best combined scores across all three events qualify for the state meet.

As the heads of the Ashley Ridge Strength and Conditioning Program, BJ Bellush and Joe Hauff supervise athletes in the weight room and serve as the coaches for the Swamp Foxes’ strength team. They say the team provides athletes with some unique experiences.

“The association was started by a bunch of football coaches but as things evolved different athletes became interested,” Hauff said. “Now we don’t just have football players. We have wrestlers, track people and others who participate. As coaches we are always harping on athletes about the importance of their work in the weight room and coaching them on technique and things but these competitions allow them to see what’s happening at other schools and it helps motivate them. It gets them to thinking on their own about what they need to do.”

Because strength isn’t a sanctioned South Carolina High School League sport, sometimes schools that don’t normally compete against each other in sanctioned sports do compete against each other at strength competitions.

“Not every school participates so there is more flexibility with the regions,” Hauff said. “We felt due to our location if we hosted a qualifier it would give more kids the opportunity to participate so we offered. Everyone who came seemed to have a good time and really got after. I’d say everyone had some good lifts. At the varsity level the Top 3 move on to the state finals and at the JV level the Top 2 move on.”

Other teams participating in the region meet were Stratford, Woodland, West Ashley, Battery Creek, Wade Hampton and Estill.

Region 7 Strength State Qualifiers

Varsity 140-pounds

1. Jermaine Alexander, AR (300-pound squat/200-pound bench/109-inch broad)

2. Mike Brown, WH (255-pound squat/170-pound bench/97-inch broad)

Varsity 150-pounds

1. Givari Loggins Goodwine, AR (315-pound squat/220-pound bench/109.5-inch broad)

Varsity 160-pounds

1. Damari Smiley, WD (385-pound squat/225-pound bench/111.5-inch broad)

2. Chris Simmons, AR (335-pound squat/225-pound bench/114.5-inch broad)

Varsity 170-pounds

1. Chase Manigault, WH (345-pound squat/240-pound bench/ 96-inch broad)

2. Cody Segars, WH (345-pound squat/225-pound bench/106.50-inch broad)

3. Zion Dobson, WH (3435-pound squat/215-pound bench/114.50-inch broad)

Varsity 180-pounds

1. Jordan Rivers, WH (370-pound squat/225-pound bench/92-inch broad)

2. Jaleo Williams, WH (325-pound squat/215-pound bench/98-inch broad)

Varsity 190-pounds

1. Marcus Jackson, WD (350-pound squat/235-pound bench/104-inch broad)

Varsity 205-pounds

1. Dwayne Simmons, AR (375-pound squat/300-pound bench/110.50-inch broad)

2. Derrick Salley, AR (400-pound squat/240-pound bench/115.50-inch broad)

2. Aaron Pulliam, WD (435-pound squat/265-pound bench/94.50-inch broad)

Varsity 220

1. Payton Buhler, WH (415-pound squat/290-pound bench/91-inch broad)

Varsity 235-pound

1. Makhi Palmore, AR (400-pound squat/275-pound bench/100.50-inch broad)

Varsity 260-pounds

1.Ka’Von Chisolm, WH (445-pound squat/300-pound bench/96.50-inch broad)

Varsity Unlimited

1. Landon Stadcutter, ST (535-pound squat/315-pound bench/97.50-inch broad)

2. Deishawn Ravenell, WD (475-pound squat/300-pound bench/71.25-inch broad)

Junior Varsity 140-pounds

1. Lavonte Farray, WD (300-pound squat/160-pound bench/103-inch broad)

2. Austin Riedel, AR (255-pound squat/160-pound bench/98-inch broad)

Junior Varsity 150-pounds

1. Jeffrey Ruffin, AR (350-pound squat/205-pound bench/103-inch broad)

2. Juwelz Washington, WD (325-pound squat/190-pound bench/109-inch broad)

Junior Varsity 160-pounds

1. Nivay Picou, AR (315-pound squat/190-pound bench/107-inch broad)

2. Tre Austin, AR (300-pound squat/180-pound bench/108-inch broad)

Junior Varsity 170-pounds

1. Jayden Acosta, AR (400-pound squat/255-pound bench/100-inch broad)

2. Chris Terry, WH (325-pound squat/185-pound bench/100-inch broad)

Junior Varsity 180-pounds

1. Markial Moore, AR (335-pound squat/215-pound bench/102-inch broad)

2. Tyler Davis, WH (250-pound squat/165-pound bench/115-inch broad)

Junior Varsity 190-pounds

1. Dylan Polansky, AR (420-pound squat/245-pound bench/104.50-inch broad)

2. Madrell Sanders, WH (370-pound squat/225-pound bench/105-inch broad)

Junior Varsity 205-pound

1. Dwayne Blanden, WD (405-pound squat/235-pound bench/97.75-inch broad)

2. Jeremiah Venning, AR (375-pund squat/230-pound bench/101.50-inch broad)

Junior Varsity 235-pounds

1. Daniel Dounian, WA (465-pound squat/305-pound bench/83.50-inch broad)

2. Andrew Burroughs, AR (385-pound squat/195-pound bench/80.50-inch broad)

Junior Varsity 260-pounds

1. Jayden Cordes Thompson, AR (370-pound squat/240-pound bench/83-inch broad)

2. Justice Lewis, AR (345-pound squat/250-pound bench/77-inch broad)

Junior Varsity Unlimited

1. Antonio Ford, WD (530-pound squat/305-pound bench/69-inch broad).

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