Several area schools will be well represented at this weekend’s Texas High School Women’s Powerlifting Association State Championships.

A total of 17 athletes from six area schools will be in attendance.

While some programs struggle to advance a single competitor to the sport’s largest stage, Copperas Cove, Belton and Gatesville each advanced at least three lifters.

Led by Alyssa Arnold, the Lady Bulldawgs qualified five for the two-day state meet being held at Waco’s Extraco Events Center. The Class 1A-4A meet is today, while the Class 5A-6A meet is scheduled for Saturday.

Arnold is the only area athlete entering the Class 5A-6A meet as a regional champion after claiming the Region II, Division II title in the 259-plus weight class by 250 pounds. Arnold squatted 540 pounds, bench pressed 300 pounds and deadlifted 450 pounds for a 1,290-pound total.

Although Arnold enters as a favorite, four other Copperas Cove lifters will be looking to capture medals.

Alyssa Wright (123 pounds), Maddison Sheumaker (148), Alisha Donnatien (198) and Alexxis Smith (220) will also be competing for the Lady Bulldawgs.

Belton matched Copperas Cove’s total, advancing five lifters to the state meet, including a pair of second-place finishers at regionals.

Competing in the 114-pound weight class, Paige Bridenstine emerged with a silver medal after totaling 675 pounds (275 squat, 120 bench press, 280 deadlift), while teammate Kaylee Hausam lifted 1,030 pounds (410 squat, 220 bench press, 400 deadlift) to place second in the 259-pound division.

Additionally, 123-pounder Jaci Cauble, 165-pounder Isabelle Gutierrez and Angela Ferrer (259-plus) advanced to state for the Lady Tigers.

Ellison’s Lagi Marina Ah Sang is the only other area lifter to qualify for the Class 5A-6A meet after totaling 1,025 pounds in the 259-pound division.

Gatesville is sending three competitors to today’s Class 1A-4A meet after each departed from the Region II, Division II meet with second-place finishes.

Savannah Ford earned a third consecutive trip to state with a silver-medal showing totaling 985 pounds. The 259-pounder had a 380-pound squat, 225-pound bench press and 380-pound deadlift.

She will be joined by teammates Kylie Rystad and Alayna Washington, who qualified in the 114-pound and 123-pound weight classes, respectively.

Salado will look to earn a pair of state championships after advancing two medal winners from regionals.

Dorislynn Edmondson won the 181-pound division with an 810-pound total (315 squat, 145 bench press, 350 deadlift), and Regina Deen was second in the 132-pound weight class. Deen recorded a 290-pound squat, 155-pound bench press and a 320-pound deadlift at regionals.

Lampasas only qualified one lifter for state, but she advanced in impressive fashion.

Competing in the 114-pound division, Alyssa Ayers broke three regional records en route to winning the weight class. She set new regional benchmarks with a 195-pound bench press and a 305-pound deadlift, while also establishing a new record for total weight with 780 pounds.

Weigh-ins for the state meet begin at 5:30 a.m. with competition starting at 8 a.m. each day.

Tickets are $12 each at the door, but children under 4 years old are free. Discounted tickets can be purchased for $10 apiece at ExtracoEventsCenter.com.

Parking is $5 per day.

Contact Clay Whittington at clayw@kdhnews.com

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