By Chris Sokoloski
Andrews High School's Jaleel Filmore won the varsity 150-pound division at the state weight lifting competition. He benched 245 pounds and squatted 360 pounds for a combined 605 pounds.
It was Filmore's second state title in as many years. He won a junior varsity title in the 140-pound division.
"I thought I was going to excel because I won last year," Filmore said. "It helps me overall because I am stronger and I know what I can do and how I can use my body and use my strength."
"He's a tremendous worker and an outstanding athlete," said Brandon Clontz, the school's strength and conditioning coordinator and
defensive coordinator of the football team. "He really puts forth the effort to try and make himself better."
Filmore also plays football, basketball and is a member of the track team.
"I just wanted to do something different and see how far I could go," Filmore said. "I know I'll be strong enough to compete with bigger and stronger guys."
Todelle Darby finished third in the 205-division with a combined weight of 730 pounds.
"I felt like I should have trained a little harder," Darby said. "I knew there would be a lot of strong guys there competing."
He started lifting weights when he joined the football program as an eighth-grader. Now a senior, this was his first year of competition.
"I wanted to see how strong I was," he said.
"I wish that he could have done better," Clontz said. "He had knee problems so he's been limited. He's an outstanding kid. He listens to anything you ask him to do."
Clontz was hired three years ago when Steve Blanchard became head football coach. Clontz said the school's strength and conditioning program wasn't where it needed to be then, and the coaches have been working on it ever since.
They recently had about 15 to 20 kids who weren't playing spring sports at workouts.
Clontz said all sports gain from weight lifting, and it's a great way for kids to get some recognition.
"Lifting weights is a great opportunity for them to get some singular exposure."
Eight Yellow Jackets competed in the region meet and five qualified for the state tournament. Two of the weight lifters had track meets and didn't go to the state tournament.
Jordan Tilton competed in the 170-pound division at the state tournament. He's hoping for a better finish next year.
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