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Team Hinesville lifters sweep Junior Olympics
Nick Stock, James Fox, Dominique Brunson, Michael Purser, Jaleel Menifee and David Purser goof it up for the camera while displaying the medals they earned at the Junior Olympics last week. - photo by Phgoto by Patty Leon

Two weeks ago Team Hinesville weightlifting coach, Jenna Bussard said her team would sweep the Junior Olympics and sweep they did. Her lifters placed first through fifth at the meet in Virginia July 29.

Lifters Dominique Brunson placed first in his division, Nick Stock placed second in his class, David Purser and Jaleel Menifee placed third, James Fox placed fourth and Michael Purser rounded out the medals with a fifth place spot in his class.

But the coach said collectively they did even better.

"Team Hinesville actually won the 18-19-year-old division," she said. "They gave us a plaque for that and we gave it to Kenny Howard and the city of Hinesville. With the help of the other branches of Team Savannah we won the 13 and under, 14, 15-year-old division and we got second for the 16-17 age group.

The coach said she was especially impressed with her newer lifters, who, she said, did much better than some of her veterans.

Bussard, who is a world ranked lifter, said it felt good to bring home the medals.

"But there is a lot of things that team Hinesville as a whole needs to work on. We walked away with a title, but I am not satisfied. There are things that need to be fixed so that next year we can have a clean sweep and won’t have any problems."

The coach said they presented the plaque to the city to show their gratitude for the city’s continued support.

The team wanted to recognize Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas, City Manager Billy Edwards, Assistant City Manager Ken Howard, the Liberty County Health Department, the United Way and the Liberty County Recreation Department for their support as well.

During their time in Virginia, the team came to the aid of an injured man.

"There was a guy and his daughter in a white Chevrolet pickup truck that was flipped over on its side," the coach said, describing how they heard a loud crash while checking into their hotel.

The coach and the boys, along with a few other good Samaritans, were able to assist the folks.

"We helped and pulled the guy out of the truck and his daughter came out behind him," she said.

Bussard, who has been a first responder, was able to stop the bleeding on the man’s arm after he sustained a severe laceration.

With school back in session the coach said the team will continue to train for area meets.

"There is one meet coming up Aug. 21," she said. "Individually some of the guys are going to the American Open and we are trying to qualify everyone for next year’s Junior Nationals in Houston, Texas."

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