Parkway's Harper sets state powerlifting record

Five pounds.

That’s all that separated Parkway’s Matt Harper from an individual state powerlifting title last year.

This year, Harper’s margin would be much bigger, breaking the state’s superheavyweight division record with his personal best of 1805 total pounds.

That mark bested the field by 255 pounds.

“I was upset and teary-eyed after the loss last year, and I remember (Parkway coach Justin Scoggin coming up to me and telling me to remember how this feels,” said Harper, who led Parkway’s team in the late March championships at West Monroe. “I was real mad about it, and I wanted vengenance this year.

“It meant a bunch to go out on top with the record. I knew I had a chance to get it.”

Harper matched his own state record with a 500-pound bench press, placed first with a 605-pound deadlift and was second with a 700-pound squat to total his 1805 composite pounds.

“The bench press is my best, but I’ve worked to become balanced on all three (lifts),” Harper said. “Guys might typically be really strong on one lift or maybe two, and I was like that for a long time.”

Harper injured his lower back going into the 2013 state championship as a hunior, which likely cost him a chance to become a two-time state title winner in the first two years the sport is LHSAA-sanctioned.

But after setting the state’s bench press record at the regional meet, Scoggin said he isn’t surprised Harper brought home the title.

“You can never take anything in powerlifting for granted, but the hard work and dedication he’s put in is tremendous,” Scoggin said. “He works out two or three times a day.”

As a team, Parkway finished seventh in Division I in the program’s second season. Scoggin credited Harper for helping establish the only team in northwest Louisiana.

Chris Conley and Ray Cox placed fourth and fifth, respectively in the 132-pound class while Mickel Smith (198 pounds) finished sixth in his class.

Harper’s dad Ricky lifted, and Matt said he got into the sport to be like his dad.

“My dad helped a lot in starting the team … and when (head football coach David Feaster) came with (Scoggin) two years ago, we got an official program started,” Harper said. “I tried to recruit football players who were already lifting in the weight room, and it grew from there.

“We actually have one guy who started powerlifting that’s now playing football. I’m real proud of what we’ve started here.”

Two bowlers advance to state tournament

Despite no high school bowling teams advancing past this past weekend’s regional tournament in Lake Charles, two individual bowlers will advance to the LHSAA state tournament via their scores.

Benton senior boys bowler Tristan Tate scored a 211 while Airline girls freshman Nicole Taylor advanced with a 205.

The finals will be April 12 at All-Star Lanes in Baton Rouge.

The Airline girls entered as the No. 1 seed but were upset by No. 8 Ellender 14-13.

The Haughton girls knocked out Byrd 19-8 with a game-high 170 from Victoria Kent.

The Lady Bucs fell to Morgan City in the second round 20-7 despite Kent’s 188.

Byrd’s Stormie Parsons (182 average) in singles’ competition was the highest local bowler not to make the finals.

After a bye in the first round, the Parkway boys were edged by Terrbonne 16-11 despite a 224 from Niki Edwards.

H.L. Bourgeios eliminated the Byrd boys 22-5 in the first round despite Noah Baudoin’s 236.

LaGrange got by Loyola 19-8.

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