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Two more Panthers place in weightlifting
Panther junior weightlifter Kayla Rand placed seventh at the National Junior Weightlifting Championships March 19-22 in Foster City, Calif. She competed in the 75K weight class which had the most competitors. - photo by Phgoto by Patty Leon

Liberty County High School Panthers Mack Brunson and Kayla Rand finished second and seventh, respectively at the 2009 National Junior Weightlifting Championships March 19-22 in Foster City, Calif.

Brunson competed in the men’s 62 kilogram weight class. In the snatch he was able to lift 84K in the first attempt, 88K
in the second and 91K in the final lift.

In the clean and jerk he hoisted 115K in the first round, 120K in the second and 125K in the third. He earned a total of 216 points just 4 points shy of the first place finisher.

Competing in the 75 kilogram weight class, Lady Panther Kayla Rand finished in seventh place with a total of 148 points.

In the snatch, she lifted 62K in the first round, 66K in the second round, but could not finish the 70K in round three.

In the clean and jerk she completed a lift for 82K, but could not complete round two or three for 87K and 89K, respectively.

Lady Panther Cassie Standard also placed third at the meet.

Weightlifting coach Keith McGee said he was pleased with the results, especially his girls who were busy juggling other sports.

"Cassie is playing golf right now and Kayla is on the soccer team," he said. "So with the amount of time they could commit, they did well. Kayla’s group was so big and the girl that won has already qualified for the world championships. Her coach is the men’s Olympic coach."

McGee said Brunson’s sole focus is on weightlifting but the coach has him working out with track to keep him contest ready.

The coach said Rand and Standard set personal records and Standard did so after cutting down to a lower weight class. She competed in the 53 kilogram class.

Rand said she prefers the snatch lift over the clean and jerk. The junior has competed in previous meets and said she wants to place first in school age competitions in June. In the snatch she can lift 67 kilograms and in the clean and jerk she has completed an 85K lift.

Brunson, a senior, has competed in four meets this year and six last year. He said this weekend’s second place finish is his best showing this season. He prefers the snatch, but said he is more suited for the clean and jerk. His heaviest lift is 125K in the clean and jerk and 91K in the snatch. He said his goal is to hit 140K in the clean and jerk.

McGee has coached the weightlifters at LCHS for four years. He’s coached weightlifting teams, primarily girl lifters, for 10 years at two other high schools.

In Arizona, McGee’s team was three-time world champions. He said girls are sometimes more coachable in the weight room than guys.

He thinks Rand has a good shot at medaling in June.

"We are hoping for Kayla to medal and if she brings her A game she should get a gold or silver," he said. "Last year she received the silver."

The coach plans to take at least eight competitors to the June school age meet.

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