SKYLEIGH SEARS EARNS THIRD STATE CHAMPIONSHIP AT STATE MEET

WACO–The Calhoun Sandies powerlifting championship streak came to an end Saturday after finishing in third place with 14 points.

The Sandies went into the state powerlifting meet as the 13-time defending champions, but it ended in a “disappointing day” said Sandies head coach Jason Bagwell.

Bagwell said his team “did their best” in the meet, but the “chips” didn’t fall the way you want them.

“That is life, sometimes life doesn’t go your way.” Bagwell said  “I’m the head coach it start with me, somewhere over the last couple of weeks I did something wrong, we lifted so well in the regional…two weeks later it is a different story. Sports is an interesting festive of life.”

Bagwell said he doesn’t want his team to think that they brought “shame”, and he doesn’t want to them to take the blame for the steak coming to an end.

Bagwell said “the best loses, he used horse racing as an example, he added, “even Secretariat got beat.”

Skyleigh Sears, the Sandies senior lifter and leader finished the meet as the state champion for the third consecutive year. Sears won the 123 weight class with a total of 950 pounds lifted in a close battle between one of Brownsville-Lopez lifters.

“I could have done better, but I guess I did my best and came out strong, but it feels great.” Sears said.

Sears faced adversity in the deadlift stage after being down 35 pounds, she said she had no choice (to get the lifts done), and she added it was “do or die”.

Sears said she was “speechless” when the streak ended, and she added that her team did their best at the state meet.

“Sometimes nothing lasts forever, and there’s nothing we can do about it, but they will come back stronger next year.” Sears said.

Bagwell said Sears is one the last of the “old school lifters,” and he added it not as common today as it was in the past.

“When you put in the time, your life, heart and soul into powerlifting, it starts to mean a lot.” Bagwell said. “As the youngster pick up on that, we’ll be back to where we were us to be.”

Alayna Searcy, the Sandies sophomore lifter, took second place in 259 plus class with a total of 1040 pounds lifted at the meet.

Searcy lifted in her first state meet after bombing out in regionals last year, and she said she was “grateful” to have the opportunity to lift in the state meet.

Despite Searcy placing second, the experience gave her more confidence.

“It gives me more confidence that I know I can do it, Searcy said. “And that it’s not a problem for me, that I can’t place and I can’t do good or excel.”

Searcy said she was sad that the championship streak ended, but she thinks her team can continue it next year.

“I think we can grow stronger as a team, and we learned from our mistakes today, and just grow from here.” Searcy said.

Even though the championship streak came to an end, Bagwell said it was a “big weight lifted off his chest” putting the “streak” behind him.

“Coach (Kellie) Whitaker was talking and saying it’ll never be done again, no one will win 13 (in a row), it won’t be done again.” Bagwell said.

The streak began in 2006, and Bagwell said it was “unbearable” to defend the title for that long.

“The relief of putting the streak away is a little more comforting.” Bagwell said. “I know it sounds crazy, but let someone else try to do it, and then they’ll understand.”

Bagwell said it wasn’t his team’s day, but he added he doesn’t have to talk about the “streak”, and maybe his team “can start a new one.”

Bagwell said out of the Twenty-one girls  on this year’s team, 16 will return next year, and he added that the returning lifters will be back with a “serious purpose.”

Final results of the state meet:

The Sandies finished in third with 14 points.

Sears placed first in the 123-pound weight class with a total of 950 pounds.

Searcy finished in second in the 259-plus class with a 1040 total pounds.

Salma Anaya-Martinez,  finished fourth place in the 105 class with 675 total pounds.

Thay Blute and Saw Paw, the Sandies sophomore lifters closed out the meet in 10th and 11th place in the 97-pound weight class with 600 and 595 total pounds lifted..

Raelin Luna, the Sandies placed seventh in the 114 class with 700 total pounds.

Freshman Kennedi Butcher placed sixth in the 198-pound class with 935 total pounds.

Abbie Etzler finished 17th in the 148 class with 760 pound total lift.