Cougars’ heavy lifting captures awards, shatters records

Published 1:24 am Thursday, March 2, 2023

The Crenshaw Christian Academy (CCA) powerlifting team competed in the Alabama Independent School Association Powerlifting Championship hosted by Pickens Academy on Feb. 21, earning Overall State Champions in Class A and gathering awards in several weight divisions while three shattering state records.

CCA Athletic Director Wayne Grant said the accomplishment represents the second state championship for powerlifting achieved during his career at the school.

‘It’s not a new championship or a new program,” Grant said. “We’ve lifted weights the whole time. We just haven’t been to the state meet every year.”

Email newsletter signup

Grant said the team practices to participate in the championship towards the end of the season and some athletes, like Kasey Morgan, look forward to breaking records during the competition.

“Some of the athletes look forward to breaking records,” Grant said. “Kasey is one of those guys. He looks forward to breaking records, so he works harder on the weights to have the ability to do that.”

Morgan, a junior in his first year at CCA, achieved his goal at the competition, earning first place for best squat and overall middle weightlifter. He also shattered the state record for total weightlifting in the 165-pound class by hefting a total of 1210 pounds during the event.

“I enjoy how the work I put in pays off,” Morgan said. “How much you recover and work towards [building] your body pays off in how much you can lift and how much stronger you get.”

Mattie Register, who transferred from Luverne School from CCA and practiced powerlifting for the first time this year, gained first place in the women’s 125-pound division and awards for best squat, best bench [press], overall lightweight, and overall best lifter. She also earned first place in the women’s 125-pound division.

“My dad (Coach Cris Pedersen) s really into the fitness industry,” Register said. “So, we’ve been working out for other sports like basketball and volleyball for a while, but this is my first year competitively powerlifting. I just really like the idea of being a strong female and breaking the stigma about women who can do things like men can.”

Other team members captured awards for lifting — Riley Mills earned first place in the men’s 98-pound division, Dalton Jordan won first place for the 148-pound men’s division, Brady Catrett took home third in the 165-pound men’s division, Walden Mitchell achieved best bench and first place in the men’s 205-pound division, and Shawn Thomas finished second among men in the 205-pound division.

Pederson, who coached powerlifting for the first time during this season, went to the state powerlifting championship during his high school junior year at CCA.

“The cool thing about the powerlifting meet is we’re not just competing,” Pedersen said. “We won state championship but we’re not just competing against 1A, we’re competing against all the classifications. We took 19 kids — 14 boys and five girls.

“I think it was pretty special that we competed against Pickens and the bigger schools. Our kids stepped up. We’re just getting going with the girls weightlifting. Mattie’s been doing it for several years now, getting ready for other sports. So, we’re just hoping to get all the girls going in the same direction.”