Natchez High powerlifting trio qualifies for Nationals

Published 1:33 am Monday, April 28, 2008

NATCHEZ — Coming off a Class 5A state championship as a team, three Natchez High School powerlifters have a chance for some individual glory.

Roderick Allen, Callon Green and Johnny Griffin all qualified for the national powerlifting meet in Killeen, Texas June 13-15.

The three lifters qualified in a regional meet in Hattiesburg last week and will spend the next couple of months training for nationals.

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Allen qualified in the 132 pound class by lifting 1,040 pounds of total weight. Green qualified in the 181 pound weight class by lifting 1,325 pounds of total weight while Griffin qualified in the 240 pound weight class by lifting 1,400 pounds of total weight.

“It feels really good to make it to nationals,” Green said. “It will allow us to further our powerlifting careers.”

Griffin said making nationals is one of the highlights of his high school athletic career, as well as winning the state championship last month.

“Winning the state championship and then advancing to nationals is something we can carry with us the rest of our lives,” Griffin said. “I’m just proud to be representing our town.”

While the lifters compete against only others from around Mississippi during the state meet, the three lifters going to Texas will compete against the best from around the country.

“This meet will be a real good experience for us because we get to compete against lifters from across the U.S.,” Allen said. “The regional meet we competed in last week had lifters from different states, and we did pretty well.”

Natchez High powerlifting coach Joseph Johnson said the trip to nationals is a just reward for the three lifters, seeing that they are not only talented, but great team leaders as well.

“These three guys are outstanding athletes, but more than that, they’re also great leaders on campus,” Johnson said. “I’m very proud of them. I can see any one of them coming back to take over my job if that’s what they want to do.”

Johnson said that he will begin working with them starting next week to help them train for the national meet.

“For any athlete to be successful they have to put the time in,” Johnson said. “They have put a lot of practice time in preparing for the regional and national meet and they’ll continue to do so.”

And the time they have put in has allowed the three lifters to experience something they have not before – a trip to Texas.

“I’ve heard it’s a good-looking town,” Griffin said. “It will be a brand new experience for us. We’re excited about it and are looking forward to the experience.”

Even if they don’t come back with a trophy after nationals, Johnson is still very proud of his three team leaders and the accomplishments they have achieved this year.

“I don’t have biological sons. These are my sons,” Johnson said. “They have made me very proud. I’ve gotten to experience what other fathers have gotten to experience.”