H-P Sports Editor

The Palestine Wildcat powerlifting team will be sending 11 lifters to the regional powerlifting meet this weekend as the Wildcats look for both a regional title and a chance for the state meet.

“I feel like we have a chance to win the regional championship,” Palestine powerlifting coach David Wilbanks said. “We are going in one point behind Brownsboro so if we can have one or two lifters do better, I think we have a shot.”

The regional powerlifting meet will be held Saturday at Elysian Fields High School.

Along with a regional championship in reach, the top two finishers in each weight class will advance to the state meet. Even if lifters do not finish in the top two but meet a specific lift total for each respective class, they can automatically qualify for the state meet.

Freshman Michael Garcia will be lifting in the 114 weight class and he comes into the regional meet ranked third.

Justin Baldovino will lift in the 123 weight class and is fifth in the region.

Carlos Gutierrez is ranked first in the 132 weight class and Wilbanks believes if Gutierrez lifts like he has all season, he will make the state meet.

Kevin Berry is ranked sixth in the region in the 148 class while Vernon Jogie is ranked fifth and Kevin Smith is ranked sixth in the 198 class. Wilbanks said there is a good chance both Jogie and Smith can qualify because the top six lifters in the 198 class are very close to each other.

J-Maar Arthur will lift in the 242 class, where he is ranked third in the region and Wilbanks believes Arthur can qualify by reaching the automatic totals.

Wilbanks said Philip George has a chance to win the 275 class. George is second in the region. D.J. Hall is sixth in the 275 class.

In the super heavyweights, Allen Williams is fourth and Xavier Bland is fifth.

“I am really proud of all our lifters,” Wilbanks said. “This is the first time I have taken a full team to represent a school in regionals.”

Along with the Palestine boys’ powerlifting team, on the girl’s side, five lifters are going to regionals, which are being held today in Brownsboro.

Vallarie Birdow looks to get back to state for the second straight year. This year she is third in the 123 class.

Jessica Newton is tied for second in the region in the 105 class and Katelyn Snider is ninth in the 165 class.

Brittany Adams is fifth in the region in the 220-plus class and J’Nae White is 12th in the 97 class.

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