Payne leads way in Hampton event

from staff reports

   Filling its traditional reservation for the final Saturday in April, the Hampton High Weightlifting Contest enjoyed its 23rd annual event this year in the confines of VanHuss-White Gymnasium.
   The contest brought forth a flourish from Johnson County's Aaron Payne, who captured the Bob Peoples Memorial Deadlift Award as well as the best-lifter award in the light division (114-165 pounds).
   The 160-pound Payne made a 500-pound deadlift to capture the Peoples trophy.
   Taking best-lifter honors in the heavy division (166 pounds-superheavy) was Eddie Evans of Unicoi County.
   The high school competition included Happy Valley, Hampton, Cloudland, Johnson County, Unicoi County and Elizabethton, and had 27 participants. The Warriors captured the team trophy this year, with the host school, Hampton, claiming a runner-up finish.
   Mike Hyder, weighing in at 241 pounds, took top honors in the heavy masters (45 years and older) open-bench division with an successful effort of 300 pounds.
   The open-bench competition winners were 178-pound Jeremy Hunt (450 lift) in the light division and 256-pound Nathan Ball (450 lift) in the heavy division.
   In the open deadlift, 169-pound Mark White (500 lift) turned in a first-place, light-division performance, with Ball (615 lift) topping the heavy-division competition.
   No girls competed in this year's event, but Hampton Elementary's Adam Townson distinguished himself in the 114-pound weight class. The 14-year-old Townson benched 155 pounds and deadlifted 235.
   Another notable showing was given by Hampton High's Jimmy Sarrett, who won the 220-pound weight class in the high school division.
   Contest co-organizer Bill Anderson acknowledged that Sarrett, competing in his fourth Hampton event, had worked real hard in the Hampton High sports programs for four years while being a big help with the contest and being very supportive of the school weightlifting club.
   The Hampton team was recognized during athletics' awards day, with each member receiving a medal. Sarrett was awarded a plaque for his four-year participation.
   Anderson and co-organizer Willie Lunsford congratulate all the lifters and participants, and offer a special thanks to the people who took part in setting up and tearing down the equipment for the meet.
   Anderson and Lunsford also express appreciation for all the judges, statkeepers, loaders and camera people, as well as the computer operator, plus Ray Judy's Gym of Johnson City for providing the competition weights, and Hampton High for providing the warmup weights and platform.
   This year's judges were Bob Simpson, who has worked all but one event; masters Olympic weightlifter Joe Burleson, who is set to compete in the World Championships; and Ray Arnett (head judge), who served on the panel for the first time.