Members of the Good Hope High School boys’ and girls’ weightlifting teams pose for a photo in the school’s athletic facility on Tuesday. / Nick Griffin
GOOD HOPE – The Good Hope boys’ and girls’ weightlifting teams claimed their second straight Class 4A state titles over the weekend. If that weren’t impressive enough, together, the teams finished second overall in the state of Alabama. The state meet was held at Elmore County High School.
Good Hope Strength Coach Patrick McDonald and Good Hope Athletic Director Alan Scott were honored at Good Hope’s City Council meeting Monday night, along with a few of the team members. Mayor Jerry Bartlett was excited to recognize the team and believes renovations and contributions from the council and the community are paying off in a big way. The team has a new weight training facility that was funded by the school, with help from the City and donations from the community. The facility is in what was previously the school’s band building and was renovated and filled with state-of-the-art equipment.
“They have now got what we think is the best weightlifting facility in the county by far,” said Bartlett. “I told Coach Scott, ‘When you’re bass fishing, the guy with the best looking and fastest boat doesn’t always win,’ but this is two years in a row for Coach Scott and Coach Patrick McDonald, so it’s a testament to what they’re doing, that we win the state championship two years in a row. I mean they are taking this facility and they have ran with it and they’re making us proud each year.” Bartlett said.
“We had three boys that finished tops, they won the state in their class, and overall, they won 4A. They were the best weightlifting group in 4A and they even finished second among all divisions, boys and girls. Coach McDonald is the one that he’s (Scott) hired to do this and Coach McDonald I just want to say, I’m impressed. Keep it up, our hats are off to you and we’re just proud that we helped give you this facility and what you’re doing with it, we’re just so proud of you.”
McDonald has been able to take advantage of his school’s state-of-the-art equipment to churn out championships and loves getting a chance to brag on the facility.
“I think that the facility that we have now is one of the best in north Alabama, and it helps us be so much more efficient in the time that we’re working out,” McDonald said. “We can get, instead of two or three things done in an hour, we can probably get six or seven things done in an hour and be a lot safer and the kids have state-of-the-art equipment, so everything we’re doing now is going really well with the new weight room.”
McDonald has also seen the interest in the program increase with their recent success and is seeing younger kids get excited in the weight room as they get ready to start their high school careers.
“We have some of the middle school kids come in and I train some at the middle school, and when they come in their eyes get real big looking at all the equipment and seeing how nice it is and seeing ‘Good Hope Raiders’ written on everything,” he said. “We have different quotes like ‘pride, commitment, toughness, effort’ on every station and it’s just something they’re all proud of and it makes you want to work out a little harder when you come into a facility like that.”
With their facilities improving and trophies building up, the new standard has been set for McDonald and the Raiders’ weightlifting team.
“I definitely think that winning state is our goal every year. That’s what the kids want and that’s what they expect, and they know that throughout the year that we’re working hard and learning the correct technique and they’re getting stronger throughout the year so when it comes down to these state weightlifting meets, they’re ready to go,” McDonald said. “That’s definitely helping our whole program because not only do they have it, every athlete has it. I’ve had a couple state championship cheerleaders that have won at the state meet so every athlete is getting the correct training and learning, and they can use this after school too.”
One of the two-time state champions recognized at Monday’s city council meeting was 10th-grader Bella Davis. Davis finished first in her weight class at the 2017 state meet and finished fourth this year. Davis is excited to see not just her own had work pay off, but the rest of her teammates’ as well. Like her coach, Davis is also excited to take on the expectations for the program.
“It feels great knowing that we’ve all improved and we all keep on improving and it’s just a good feeling because nobody else in the county can say that they are the state champs in weightlifting,” Davis said. “Since the bar is at that level you want to keep it there, you don’t want to lose your focus or lose that title, so you’ve just got to keep pushing yourself harder and getting those good ‘ole medals.”
Eleventh-grader Matthew Schwaiger was also at the meeting and is embracing the high standard as well. He’s looking forward to new competition that he and his teammates will taking on in the future.
“There’s always a lot of variables because you never know if there will be any new teams that show up and if there’s going to be someone that moves into the school that’s a lot stronger than they were last year or if a new weight coach goes to another school and they just get a lot stronger than us,” Schwaiger said. “So, by going there every year it gives us motivation if someone is catching up to us in the total points scored, to push ourselves even harder to get stronger. I feel like with the new equipment we were able to do more things than we were last year, so people were getting stronger, faster and just overall doing better in their sports.”
The standard has been set for the Good Hope Raiders’ weightlifting team, and they’ll have a lot of talent returning for next year’s state championship meet, where they’ll be gunning for a three-peat.
- Trevor Pace- 1st Place State Champion
- Matthew Schwaiger- 1st Place State Champion
- Austin Cordes- 1st Place State Champion
- Hudson Leverett- 2nd Place
- Cameron Twilley-3rd Place
- Justin Rasco-4th Place
- Andres Aguilar- 4th place
- Bailey Swann- 2nd place and set Power Clean state record for her division
- Kate Kent-2nd Place
- Taylor McClure-2nd Place
- Destiny Jones- 3rd Place
- Emma Brock-3rd Place
- Alee Jackson-4th Place
- Bella Davis-4th Place
- Kristen Hart-5th Place
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