Caledonia High School’s Chris Clements and Kody White pose with the Class 4A Region 4 trophy the school’s powerlifting team won earlier this season. On Friday, White won a state title in the 198-pound weight class, while Clements finished second in the 123-pound class at the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 4A State Powerlifting meet in Jackson. Photo by: Adam Minichino/Dispatch Staff Buy this photo.
April 18, 2017 9:41:48 AM
CALEDONIA -- Kody White knew the numbers, so 35 pounds wasn't a big gap to close.
But even an otherwise manageable weight can become even heavier when you're competing in the final meet of your career on the state's biggest stage.
White remained unfazed.
The Caledonia High School senior answered the challenge of lifting 550 pounds on his second dead lift and then eclipsed that mark with a lift of 575 on his third attempt to win the 198-pound weight class at the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 4A State Powerlifting meet on Friday in Jackson.
White, a senior, rallied from a 35-pound deficit following the squat to win his first state title. He recorded weights of 600 in the squat, 300 in the bench press, and 575 in the dead lift for a total of 1,475 to help lead Caledonia to a fifth-place finish with 13 points. All totals were personal-bests.
Caledonia High senior Chris Clements also finished second in the 123-pound weight class.
For its accomplishments, the Caledonia High powerlifting team is sharing The Dispatch's Prep Player of the Week honor with the New Hope High powerlifting team.
White opened the dead lift with a weight of 515, which helped him move into a tie with East Central's Ryan Evans, who lifted 480 pounds. Evans scratched at 520 in his final two dead lifts to give White the chance to win the championship.
"I talked with my dad (Caledonia High powerlifting coach Brian White) and said if he got 520 I would drop to 555 and tie him and beat him on body weight," said White, who weighed 197 pounds compared to Evans' 198. "If he missed, I was going to go for 575, which was my goal for the meet coming in and have fun with it. I went for my goal and I reached it."
White said it wasn't difficult to process all of the numbers and possibilities during the final round because he has been competing since his seventh grade. He said that experience and missing out on the state meet last season due to a shoulder injury made the state title even more special.
"I try to build that fire up as big as I can and take it out on each lift to the point where it is just a smolder," White said. "That way I can be calm between lifts and really save my energy and then get built up right before the next attempt."
Clements followed South Pike High's Kadarius Jackson and knew he had a chance to win on body weight (he weighed 125 pounds compared to Jackson's 127) after Jackson scratched on 390 pounds on his third and final dead lift. Clements attempted 420 pounds, but he said he barely got the weight off the ground. He lifted 385 pounds on his previous dead lift. He said he never has lifted 420 pounds. His best was 410 last season.
"(Finishing second) is not something I wanted, but after it became reality I knew I had a legitimate shot and I wasn't as broken up as I thought I would be," Clements said. "If I was the only one there (from Caledonia High), I think I would have been a little but more upset, but after that I got to sit down and watch Kody and Logan (Canerdy) go. It gave me more hope that Kody would go in there and get first, so at least somebody did. I wish I got first, but it is not as bad."
Last season, Clements lifted a total of 955 pounds to win his first state championship.
Canerdy finished fifth in the 308-pound weight class with a total lift of 1,415 pounds.
Clements hopes the lessons he lessons he learned from Zach Weathers, who won state titles in the 132-pound weight class in 2014 and 2015, and the tone he helped set with White will help the next generation of Caledonia High powerlifters continue the program's success. In February, Caledonia won its third region championship in a row and fourth in six years.
"Logan is a junior, and somebody else aside from a senior got the experience to go to a state meet, and that is something they're going to want to go back and do again," said Clements, who will attend Mississippi State in the fall and is considering the possibility of joining that school's powerlifting club. "He is going to be even more competitive next year, and that is the same kind of feeling I had a couple of years back. It was something I wanted to keep doing."
Follow Dispatch sports editor Adam Minichino on Twitter @ctsportseditor
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.