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DOUBLE THE GOLD: Two area lifters walk away with State Championships

Mar. 16—A pair of Cherokee County weight lifters traveled to the Oklahoma Powerlifters Coaches Association State Tournament and walked away as State Champions.

Hulbert's Noah Clark and Sequoyah's Marley Moore took top honors after strong showings. Clark won the 123-pound division in the eighth-grade side of things, with a total score of 24 points.

"I was very happy and proud of him. We knew it was going to be a battle coming into the meet, and we had a plan that Noah carried out," Hulbert weightlifting coach Chad Botts said.

Coming into the competition, Clark was ranked second overall in his weight class. Woodall's Carlos Ramirez was ranked as the No. 1 lifter, but was taken down by Clark. After putting up identical lifts of 275 pounds in the squat and 160 pounds in the bench press, it all came down to the final lift.

In the final lift, the deadlift, Clark narrowly out lifted Gomez. Clark's 355 pounds edged out Gomez's 350 pounds.

"He is special; he came from Hilldale, which has a successful powerlifting program," Botts said. "He had experience and was a leader in the weight room. With this being our first year in powerlifting, he provided the type of work ethic needed for others to follow. He showed up every day and did the work needed to get him to this point."

After moving up a weight class this offseason, Botts expects Clark to move up another class for his freshman season.

"I would like to see him jump another division and make some noise in another weight division next year. I'm very proud of him and the performance he showed all season," Botts said.

The State Championship ensured that Clark was undefeated this season.

On the ninth-grade side of things, Moore won the 198-pound weight class, with a total score of 25 points.

"I was just incredibly excited for him; he deserves everything he got. It was such a great day; so incredibly proud of him," Sequoyah powerlifting coach Rusty Harris said.

Moore's day started as he looked up at Brandon Pajaro. In the squat, Moore lifted 350, while Pajaro paced the 198 weight class with a 355-pound squat. Despite trailing after the squat, Moore made up plenty of points with his bench press. Moore's 265-pound lift was 45 pounds heavier than the next closest bench press in his weight class.

Going into the finals with a solid lead, Moore once again paced his weight class by a decent measure. Moore's 530-pound deadlift beat Pajaro's deadlift by 20 pounds.

After taking the State Championship this season, Harris is expecting Moore to continue to progress.

"We will have to keep training hard," Harris said. "He loves the weight room and I don't see that being a hurdle. So then, it is just a matter of keeping his nutrition good and keeping that same mindset."

The State Championship adds to his successful freshman year. Moore was also a key contributor on the defense line for an Indians team that made the State Playoffs.

"He works hard, is talented and very coachable. It doesn't matter to him where he plays; he just wants to help us. He is a real competitor," Harris said.

Along with the champions, Cherokee County had a handful of other lifters finish in the top three. SHS' Cannon Smith picked up fourth place in the 123-pound weight division on the ninth-grade side.

"He did a great job; he's a hard worker who has a great future ahead of him," Harris said of Smith.

Woodall's Ramirez narrowly followed Clark with a score of 23. Woodall's Justin Quick also earned a spot on the podium with his fifth-place finish.

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