Abbeville’s Claude Bouyer bench presses 450 pounds during Saturday’s Southern Powerlifting Federation Full Power Meet in the Selma High School gymnasium.  -- Robert Hudson
Abbeville’s Claude Bouyer bench presses 450 pounds during Saturday’s Southern Powerlifting Federation Full Power Meet in the Selma High School gymnasium. -- Robert Hudson

Selma High plays host to powerlifting event

Published 10:36pm Monday, February 25, 2013

As spectators filled the gymnasium at Selma High School for Saturday’s powerlifting meet, it wasn’t just the lifters who put on a strong showing; it was the school and the city.

Selma High School hosted a Southern Powerlifting Federation Full Power Meet on Saturday, the first time Selma has hosted an event of its kind.

Robert Wilkerson, strength and conditioning coach for Selma High School and meet director, said the meet had good attendance with a very diverse group of lifters of all ages and from both genders, who came from Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and even one from California.

“The turnout’s been great. It’s been a good day. We’ve had a lot of lifters, about 50 or 60 lifters here today,” Wilkerson said. “We had a guy 66 years old here squatting today doing full power. We’ve got a good mix of full squat, full power, bench only. We’ve got a couple of guys that did the Special Olympics here, too.”

Lifters participated in lifts such as squat, bench and deadlift.

Jesse Rodgers, president of Southern Powerlifting Federation, said Selma did a great job of hosting its first powerlifting meet.

“For the first in Selma, I think it’s gone well. It’s very good,” Rodgers said. “It’s a good turnout, several lifters, and everybody’s having a good time.”

Rodgers added that he expects to host more meets in Selma in the future as soon as Wilkerson and Selma High are ready to set up another one.

“Oh yeah, we’ll be back at least a couple times a year,” Rodgers said. “As soon as Robert and them want to set it up, we’ll set up for another one.”

Mark Melancon, a lifter from Gulf Breeze, Fla., said he’s always enjoyed powerlifting for the competition, and he enjoyed the Selma meet.

“I’ve always been competitive and I enjoy it. I’m a strength coach as well, so it’s about building myself up, getting stronger, pushing myself. And it helps me to give my clients something to look up to and show them that I practice what I preach,” Melancon said. “The meet’s run really well. Jesse puts on a good meet. It’s running fast. He had some people show up last minute, so we started a little later, but it’s running smooth. It’s a really good meet.”

Joe Vayda, a lifter from Lucedale, Miss., said powerlifting is a great way for him to stay in shape, and added the Selma meet went well.

“It’s just to push myself, to see how much I can lift. At the age I am today at 42 years old, I’m trying to keep myself in shape,” Vayda said. “I think the meet’s gone very well. It’s got a good crowd turnout and good competitors participating.”

Selma High School football players assisted in loading and unloading weights for the lifters, and Wilkerson said it’s a good way for them to build chemistry.

“It’s going smooth. We’ve also got a lot of our players involved, and I think it’ll build good team chemistry with these boys,” Wilkerson said. “Jeremiah Walker, Arron Milhouse, Bryan and Ryan Hurt, and several other football players are here on the platform having to load the weights, and they’re doing a great job. I can’t thank them enough for what they’re doing here.”

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