After all, ASH has a combined 35 state titles.
But Peabody has started a new tradition as the boys powerlifting team to beat in the area.
The Warhorses wrapped up their second straight Division II championship this past weekend in West Monroe after finishing as runner-up in 2011 and 2012. Coach Matthew Carmouche, who has led the program the past four years, sent 10 lifters to the state meet and all 10 finished in the top three of their respective weight classes.
Six Warhorses won individual state titles, a seventh actually tied for first in overall weight lifted before losing out on a tiebreaker, and both of the meet’s outstanding lifters came from Peabody.
“I’m very proud of them,” Carmouche said.
Senior Travis Harrell and junior Jacob Cooper brought home the two outstanding lifter awards, one given to the light division and the other to the heavy division. Harrell combined for 1,465 pounds — 30 shy of a state record — in the three lifts (squat, bench and deadlift) to win the 181-pound class, while Cooper combined for 1,235 pounds to win the 148-pound class.
Freshman Kentrell Norris won the 114-pound class with a combined lift of 920 pounds, which was the most of any 114-pounder in the any of the five divisions. Norris was crowned composite 114-pound champion for the state, while Cooper and Harrell both finished second in the composite standings.
Junior Tydarius Jones (123 pounds), sophomore Sedrick Dorty (132 pounds) and junior Dalan Dorsey (242 pounds) also won individual titles. Senior Torren Dixon tied for first in the 198-pound weight class with 1,370 pounds, but because he weighed one-tenth of a pound more than the other competitive, he lost the tiebreaker.
Sophomore Javon Davis (second, 165 pounds), senior Da’shawn Nash (third, 198 pounds) and junior Justin Daigle (third, superheavyweight) completed the Warhorses’ 10-man team at the state meet. They compiled 58 total points to easily outpace second-place Tioga (33 points) and third-place Leesville (30 points).
But the victory wasn’t actually that easy, Carmouche insisted.
The gap was very close after the first rotation, as Peabody underperformed on the squat, he said. Tioga, Leesville and Assumption were right on the Warhorses’ heels, but they did well in the bench press, and then brought home the title with an impressive deadlift rotation.
The Warhorses’ philosophy all season has been to outexecute other teams on the squat rotation, maintain the lead on the bench and then separate from the rest of the pack during the deadlift portion of the meet.
“They stayed true to what we do,” Carmouche said.
Cooper said there are some simple traits that have pushed Peabody’s powerlifting program from nothing prior to Carmouche’s arrival into a state powerhouse.
“Hard work and dedication,” he said, “being committed, sticking to what Coach says and stick to the plan.”
The Warhorses pushed each other to improve, not only in the weight room, but also in the classroom. That team camaraderie played an important role in Peabody’s ability to win back-to-back championships.
“We’ve got a little rivalry inside the weight room,” Cooper said.
“We battled each other,” Harrell added. “Go hard, see who can lift the most. It’s fun, but it’s mostly competitive at the same time.”
Carmouche’s competitiveness also fueled the Warhorses. When the team started slowly at the state meet, admittedly he “was heated” and challenged his team.
“He pushes us to the max,” Harrell said.
The Warhorses responded by giving everything they had to win the title. Carmouche said this season was very difficult because he lost several seniors due to discipline or grade issues and was forced to take a young, inexperienced group to the state meet. But because the Warhorses responded, overcoming their nerves, it also was the “most rewarding” year he’s had.
“The way we practiced, they understood the goals, the big picture of it and what we preach,” Carmouche said. “They kept fighting. They could have easily cracked to the pressure.”