Senior Carolina Alvarado has brought the first State Championship in the sport of Powerlifting to Woodlawn High School. The Panthers have participated in Powerlifting for less than a decade, but Panther lifters have consistently qualified for the State Meet. However, no lifter has been able to be crowned State Champion until now.
Carolina Alvarado displays her State Championship medal.
Alvarado, who placed second in Regionals, competed in the 97 pound weight class. She posted three personal records on the way to the state championship. Her squat of 210 pounds and bench of 90 pounds each bested her personal records by five pounds. However, it was her dead lift that was the difference between first and second place. Alvarado had a previous record of 235 pounds. Lifting that weight again would have placed her second in the competition. First-year coach Knute Douglas knew she could lift more weight and went for the State Championship by listing 275 pounds as her final attempt. When Alvarado successfully lifted the weight, Woodlawn High had it’s first Powerlifting State Champion.
Alvarado was not the only bright spot in Panther powerlifting this season. For the first time in the history of the school, the boys’ team won the Regional Championship. The Panthers also placed 5th overall at the state competition. The Panthers were led by senior Amani Givens, who finished runner-up in the 198 pound weight class.
Amani Givens prepares to squat at the State Championship Meet.
Coach Douglas was extremely proud of all of his lifters this season.
“Year one has been a great ride, filled with fantastic moments,” said Douglas. “This year’s boys and girls teams have seen lots of first-time achievements in school history and will be a great foundation to build upon moving forward as we strive to make Woodlawn High School Powerlifting a Championship Program.”
Woodlawn was represented by four girls and five boys at this year’s State Meet. In addition to Alvarado, Krystel Amo (105 pound weight class), Celine Thomas (148 pound weight class), and Marie Sierra (165 pound weight class) also competed. All three Lady Panthers had top ten finishes. Freshman Amo finished eighth and juniors Thomas and Sierra finished fifth and fourth.
Willie Nunnery (123 pound weight class), Mason Watson (198 pound weight class), Hunter Thomas (242 pound weight class), and Devyn Jones (275 pound weight class) joined Givens to represent the Panthers. Juniors Nunnery and Jones placed sixth and fifth, and seniors Thomas and Watson each placed fourth.
Six student-athletes performed well enough at the 2021 LHSAA/LHSPLA East Regional Powerlifting Meet to qualify for the State Meet. The group was led by sophomore Celine Thomas, who was the East Regional Champion for the 148 pound weight class, senior Tim Bennett, who was the runner-up in the SHW class, and sophomore Devyn Jones, who was the runner-up in the 275 pound weight class.
Christian Jones (620 total pounds), India Morgan (595 total pounds), and Willie Nunnery (765 total pounds) also qualified for the LHSAA Division I State Championships. The Championships will be held March 18th through March 20th at Fant Ewing Coliseum in Monroe, Louisiana.
Coach Baronich was pleased with the overall effort of both the girls and boys team.
“Our kids did a great job of competing on Friday and Saturday at the Regional Meet. Many PR’s were set along with six of them earning spots in the upcoming LHSAA Division I State Meet in Monroe later this month. Our boys team scored well enough across all weight to finish as East Regional Runner-ups.”
The Runner-up boys team consisted of Bennett, Jones, Nunnery, Matthew Sant, Jaden Sylvester, Keenan Griffin, Marcus Stewart, Mason Watson, Devin Trim, Hunter Thomas, and Roy Brackins. Sant, Sylvester, Griffin, and Stewart are all alternates at the upcoming State Meet.
Outside of qualifying for the State Meet, Bennett, Jones, and Nunnery were all able to break several school records.
Bennett set a new Woodlawn High record in the squat (575 pounds), bench (395 pounds), and total (1465 pounds) in the SHW class. He goes into the State Meet only one hundred pounds behind the state leader.
Jones set new school records in the bench (395 pounds) and total (1295 pounds) in the 275 pound class. He is the only sophomore that qualified for the State Meet in the 275 pound class in Division I.
Nunnery set a new record in the 123 pound class with a bench of 190 pounds.
Thomas became the East Regional Champion with a total weight of 660 pounds. She successfully complete a 250 pound squat, 120 pound bench, and 290 pound dead lift.
With the powerlifting season starting this month, the Panther Powerlifters are in full swing with pre-season workouts. Coach Baronich, who is beginning his 37th year as a head powerlifting coach, is looking for his experienced lifters to set the tone for the multitude of young lifters who are expected to contribute.
Seniors Tim Bennett and Aaron Gooden, along with Juniors Matthew Sant and Mason Watson, will look to lead the boys team, which finished 7th in last year’s East Regional. Senior Christian Jones and Junior Isabella Schamber are the leading returning lifters for the girls team that finished 5th in the East Regional last year. Five lifters qualified for the LHSPLA State Meet last season before the season was shut down due to COVID-19.
Coach Baronich will depend heavily on a group of Sophomores to supplement the returning boy lifters. Devyn Jones, Keenan Griffin, Jaden Sylvester, and Willie Nunnery are four lifters that are expected to contribute to the Panthers this season.
On the girls side, Junior India Morgan will join Sophomores Victoria Alder, Lauren Earl, Marie Sierra, Kara Love, and Celine Thomas as newcomers that will help lead the Lady Panthers.
Coach Baronich says that he has high expectations for both teams.
“Expectations for the boys team is high. We are returning a lot of experience with a lot of young talent. For the girls, we are still a very young team experience-wise because of the early graduation of three regional team members this year. Christian Jones is the lone senior of the group, looking to improve on our Regional finish from last year.”
The Panthers will begin their season on the road at the Joey Chutz Invitational at Denham Springs High on January 23rd. The Panthers will also attend the St. Amant Invitational on February 6th, and will host a boys and girls Tri Meet on January 30th and February 11th, respectively.
The Panthers will return to Denham Springs for the LHSPLA Girls and Boys East Regional on February 26th and 27th, and those lifters who qualify for the State Meet will participate at Fant-Ewing Coliseum on March 19th and 20th.
Athletes who would like to join this year’s Powerlifting team can contact Coach Baronich in the gym before December 18th for information.
The Woodlawn Powerlifting team hosted the LHSAA/LHSPLA East Regional this past weekend at Woodlawn High. The Panthers had multiple lifters break school records and qualify for the Division I State Meet.
On Friday, February 28th, the Lady Panther powerlifters took to the platforms.
Hallie Rozarto placed 2nd in the 114 pound weight class while setting the school records in the squat and total weight for her weight class.
Breanna Russell participated in the 123 pound weight class. She finished third in her class while setting the school records for the bench press, deadlift, and total weight for her class.
Other Lady Panthers who participated and placed were Victoria Alder, who placed 4th in the 148 pound class, Destiny Leger, who placed 4th in the 132 pound class, and India Morgan, who placed 5th in the 123 pound class.
Hallie and Breanna each qualified for the State Meet, which will be held at ULM on Friday, March 20th.
The Panther powerlifters followed the Lady Panthers on Saturday, February 29th.
Jonero Scott led the way for the Panthers, placing 2nd in the 198 pound weight class.
Tim Bennett finished 3rd in the Super Heavyweight class. He set Woodlawn High records in the bench press for his weight class.
Quentin Ross and Mason Watson also competed and placed for the Panthers. Quentin placed 4th in the 275 pound weight class, and Mason placed 4th in the 181 pound weight class.
Jonero qualified for the State Meet and will represent Woodlawn High on Saturday, March 21st at ULM.
Coach Baronich and the Athletic Department at Woodlawn High would like to thank all of the sponsors of the 2020 East Regional: Platform Sponsors – ISC Constructors, LLC, K-Watt Electric, LLC, Peak Performance Physical Therapy, and Total Care Injury and Pain Center. Table Sponsors – Chick-fil-A, Jostens Class Rings, and Papa John’s Pizza. Meet Sponsors – Acadian Ambulance, Addis Athletics and Apparel, Coca-Cola Bottling of Baton Rouge, Fleur De Lis Donuts, Hi Nabor Supermarkets, Kleinpeter Dairy Farms, LLC, Mason’s Grill, Outback Steakhouse, Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, Shoppers Value Foods, Winn Dixie Stores, and Zaxby’s.