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Team Hinesville ready for Junior Olympics
Mack Brunson, Jaleel Menifee, Jodeci Dowdy, Dominique Brunson, Jacod Mackrill and Team Hinesville weightlifting coach Jenna Bussard take time away from training. Not pictured are Kayla Rand and Michael Purser. Rand and Brunson placed third and second, respectively, at the National School Age Meet on June 19-21. Menifee placed seventh and Purser placed fifth. All of the Team Hinesville weightlifters are preparing for the AAU Junior Olympic in Iowa July 27-Aug. 8. - photo by Phgoto by Patty Leon
Earning silver and a bronze, and placing seventh or better was just a start for Team Hinesville lifters who just returned from the National School Age Meet in Gainesville June 19-21.
More importantly, according to coach Jenna Bussard, all her competitors hit personal records in their respective weight class and accomplishments.
Team Hinesville lifter Kayla Rand competed in the 75k weight class, earning third place. Dominique Brunson, competed in the boys 14-15 age group 56k weight class and took a silver medal. Michael Purser, competing in the same age group in the 85k+ weight class finished fifth and Jaleel Menifee competed in the 16-17 age group for the 69k weight class, earning seventh place.
The coach said having four of five lifters place well was a good indicator for the upcoming AAU Junior Olympics in Iowa July 27-Aug. 8.
“Except for Rand, this was the first time they were on a national level stage so they were nervous,” she said. “They all did well, hitting personal records. I think this meet helped prepare them for future meets. Now they know what it’s like to do their thing while standing in front of hundreds of people.”
The coach and competitors are busy canvassing the community as they look for help to cover the expense of taking 10 competitors to the Junior Olympics, but Bussard said they are making progress.
“They’ve all qualified and we are still in the process of raising money,” she said. “We have a ballpark figure of what we need as an overall team. We are waiting to hear back from certain individuals as far as sponsorships.”
As a sister to Team Savannah, the squad did well bringing home the overall winner for the boys’ 14-15 age group and the overall winner of the boy’s 16-17 age group.
Bussard said the AAU meet is their focus.
“If my kids are not going to be on point then they aren’t going,” she said. “If they can’t be responsible enough to make their weight then they aren’t responsible enough to go to a meet, period.”
Anyone wishing to sponsor Team Hinesville should call Bussard at (912) 429-0931.
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