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Union boys powerlifting looks to four-peat at state

Published: Apr. 16, 2021 at 11:34 PM CDT
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UNION, Miss. (WTOK) - When you walk into the weight room at Union High School, it’s hard to miss the three state championship banners that hang proudly on the wall.

From the Yellowjackets first state championship in 2017 to their most recent one in 2019, the banners serve as a reminder of what head coach Darryl Jones has helped build.

Jones arrived at Union in 2015 with a vision to revamp the program. He had prior experience winning state championships at Southeast Lauderdale, leading the Tigers to back-to-back MHSAA Class 3A titles in 2013 and 2014.

In his first year coaching, the Yellowjackets had three lifters win individual state championships. The next year, the team claimed its first ever overall title.

“When I came here there was no program at all. It took us one year to build it and have had success every year since then,” Coach Jones said. “It feels really good seeing what we’ve accomplished.”

One component to a team’s success is the players that make up the team. For Coach Jones, getting athletes to stick with the program hasn’t been a challenge, which has played a key role in why they’ve won state title after state title.

This year’s team has five seniors who all joined in the seventh grade. They’ve stuck with the program throughout high school and have been part of building a powerlifting powerhouse at Union.

“Every year he (Jones) has made us do our best and strive even harder, and look where it’s got us,” senior Alex Sharp said. “We’re about to try and win our fourth title in a row...it feels good to know that when you walk into a powerlifting meet they’re like ‘Crap, Union’s here.’”

With the 2020 season being cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic, the team is thankful to be back in Jackson this year to defend the 2A title again.

“It hurt bad when the season was cut short last year. Everyone had already qualified for state so all we had to do was have the meet,” senior Jacob Moore said. “This year means pretty much everything. It’s the last meet for us seniors.”

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