ALMA — Braxton Horne didn’t let a break, or two, end his high school sports career.
The Greenwood senior went out a champion on Saturday both individually and helping the Bulldogs to the 7A/6A and overall title at the State Weightlifting meet at Alma.
Alma breezed to the championship in Class 5A, Booneville won Class 4A, Junction City won Class 3A, and Class 2A was won by Rison.
Greenwood lifted 5,095 pounds total in the 10 weight divisions in the bench press and the power clean. Booneville lifted 4,980 pounds and finished second overall, and beat Trumann in Class 4A.
Horne easily won the bench press in the 148-pound division with a lift of 280 pounds, setting a personal record. It was 35 pounds better than his closest competitor.
“Before that, 275 was my max,” Horne said. “When people are watching, I tend to perform better.”
Horne lifted 265 on his second lift, which was already good enough to win his weight division, and decided to try for 280 on his third and final lift after conferring with his coach, Jason Gill.
“Me and coach Gill talked about it and he said I could go for 275 or try to break my record,” Horne said. “So, I went for it. I was confident. You have to be confident or you’re not going to get it.”
Horne came in at 148.8 pounds and had to spend 20 minutes running bleachers before the meet to make weight. It just served as a good warmup.
Horne was a promising sophomore running back, rushing seven times for 43 yards in spot duty, before breaking his leg in a junior varsity game early in his junior season. The break didn’t set properly and another operation was needed. That forced him to miss this past football season as well. He spent the idle time benching.
“I couldn’t do anything else besides bench,” Horne said. “I had to workout. I couldn’t just sit around and do nothing.”
Horne was able to come back just in time for wresting season, though, and finished sixth in his weight division in Class 6A.
“The adversity he went through with the surgeries he had,” Greenwood wrestling coach John Kincade said. “He was trying to get it all healed up and doing all of the work and everything to do to get it right, then they had to operate on it again. He said ‘Coach, I’m going to be back for wrestling season.’ To perservere through all of that and come back and break his own record lifting. He put in the time and the hard work.”
Horne finished second overall in his weight division on Saturday with 485 pounds total.
Greenwood’s Jon Womack set a meet record on Saturday with a 385-pound power clean.
“I think I could have gotten more, but it’s good to play it safe than risk it a little bit,” said Womack, a junior.
He benched 385 pounds and tied a meet record of 770 total pounds, first set by Bijhon Jackson of El Dorado last year. Womack attempted 395 on his final lift on the bench, but didn’t make it.
“I tried to break the overall record,” Womack said. “I got the power clean done, but it was a long day. It will give me something to work for. I’ll come back next year and get the overall.”
El Dorado’s Montre Marshall also set a meet record in the 242-pound division with a 350-pound power clean.
Alma won Class 5A despite having no individual champions, but the Airedales were consistent across the board in all divisions. The Airedales lifted 210 pounds, collectively, more than second-place Farmington.
Class 4A winner Booneville had two individual runners-up to help the Bearcats win. Austin Foster lifted 420 total pounds in the 132-pound division. Marcus Nichols lifted 600 pounds in the 259-pound division.
Rison’s Blaine Wells, competing in the heavyweight division, had the best bench press of the day with 415 pounds.
Junction City coach David Carpenter won his ninth weightlifting championship on Saturday, including four overall. Carpenter retired as the Dragon’s football coach after this past season, leaving with 242 wins and tied for 10th overall in state history.
“Right now, I’m still helping with offseason and track like I’ve always done,” Carpenter said. “Once they start spring practice in about a month, yeah, I’m going to miss it.”
Carpenter remains as the school’s athletic director.
“I’ll still help coach,” Carpenter said. “I don’t want to get too far away from what I love. I’ll just roll on.”
Carpenter has put a lot of emphasis on the weight program at Junction City.
“When you get up here in one of these things, these are the guys you’re competing against for scholarships,” Carpenter said. “When they get in here in their weight groups and see these other guys, they know they have to up their game to get there. It helps these guys out a lot, which carries over to football. It makes them stronger and we don’t get as many injuries.”
Junction City won six state football championships under Carpenter.