Uplifting experience Athletes hit big weights in regional match

Rashaun Brown of Wando High School gets some encouragement from his teammates during the Lowcountry Power Clean Championships at Goose Creek High School on Saturday. Brown took home a silver medal in his weight class with a 285-pound lift.

There are people who enjoy lifting things over their heads that weigh enough to crush them.

That was apparent last Saturday at the annual Lowcountry Power Clean Championships at Goose Creek High School.

In a typical scenario, the huge barbell crashes down on the mat and bounces near the feet of a Wando High School football player, who nonchalantly hops over it and walks away as his teammates cheer.

For instance, Stephen Wilson cleared 305 pounds, almost 125 pounds more than his body weight of 182 pounds. It’s a new record for his weight class.

Goose Creek strength coach Joe Bowers has been organizing the competitions at the school for the past three years.

“It gives them something fun to do in the offseason,” he said.

Most athletes were football players, but there also were several girls.

This year, 74 athletes competed. They represented Goose Creek, Wando, Hanahan, Colleton County in Walterboro and Whale Branch in Beaufort. Porter-Gaud and Ashley Ridge have competed in the past but weren’t able to make it this year, Bowers said.

One of the girls also set a meet record. Jalvin Jones of Goose Creek High cleared 135 pounds.

Mikayla Tanner, a Goose Creek Gators senior varsity basketball player sporting tattoos and a mohawk, didn’t set a record or win a medal, but she cleared 120 pounds, almost equaling her 140-pound body weight.

“People underestimate us because we’re girls,” she said of being surrounded by guys.

She says lifting weights builds her strength so she can jump higher. She plans to play basketball at Notre Dame next year.

Lifting heavy weights is a combination of strength and technique. A lot depends on balance.

Dylan Steele, a 319-pound junior offensive lineman for the Gators, talked about lifting while waiting his turn in the heavyweight division Saturday.

“You start out down below the knees, you throw it up and try to get up under it and stand up with it,” he explained. “It’s really technique. You jump up with it and bring it up, and then you’ve got to get below the weight. The quickest guy gets the most weight. It’s getting under it. ”

The rules say it’s OK to take a step or shuffle after the lift as long as you maintain control.

The heaviest lift of the day was by Austin Fister of Wando, who hoisted 310 pounds, also a meet record for the 235-pound class.

Fister, a junior defensive end, is 225 pounds and 6 feet 4 inches tall.

“I wanted to try 315, but they wouldn’t let me,” he said. “I do it just to get to know everybody, get to know who we’re playing. It also helps me. If you can do a lot in this, you can explode off the line.”

Other records were set by Rudder Brown of Wando, clearing 290 pounds in the 205-pound class; Aaron Clark of Hanahan, 295 pounds in the 220-pound class; and Chuck Rouse of Wando, 305 pounds in the heavyweight class.

Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.