By Jackson Sepko
Oxford High School’s Madisyn Herron and Lafayette High School’s Alicia Harris signed scholarships to join Blue Mountain College’s inaugural powerlifting team that will compete against schools nationwide.
Oxford’s Madisyn Herron and Lafayette’s Alicia Harris have both left their mark on Mississippi girls’ powerlifting. Herron, owner of the state’s super-heavyweight records in the squat (565 pounds) and bench press (225 pounds), and Harris, who took home a state title this spring in just her second year as a competitive powerlifter, became the first two girls from Mississippi to sign letters of intent for college powerlifting.
Lafayette head girls’ powerlifting coach Sandra Smith said the two are “trailblazers for our state.”
While Herron and Harris are making history competing at the collegiate level, they each leave a void to fill and an example to follow for the younger members of their teams.
Oxford head powerlifting coach Stan Robertson said that having Herron on his team was like having “an (extra) assistant coach.”
“It was great having her as a lifter, but it was just as important as having her as captain,” Robertson said.
While Herron’s leadership made an impression on her younger teammates, her tremendous success set a standard that will be hard to match.
Herron was named to the Mississippi High School Activities Association’s Elite 12 team, the equivalent of all-state for powerlifting.
Robertson said that Blue Mountain head powerlifting coach Nathan Gaillard likened Herron to a blue-chip athlete and called her someone who could be a cornerstone of their program.
“Madisyn is one of the best powerlifters in the state and proved that by breaking multiple records at state this year,” Gaillard said. “She is also a great person and is highly thought of by her coaches and teammates. She has a chance to come in and make waves in collegiate powerlifting and legitimize our program.”
Harris has also left a mark on her school’s powerlifting program.
Coach Smith said the other girls on the team see her as the prime example of knowing how to succeed in powerlifting after high school.
“I think she’s left a great legacy here,” Smith said.
Smith and Gaillard both hailed Harris’ work ethic and leadership skills as assets she will bring to Blue Mountain. Her first year of collegiate powerlifting will be just her third year of competitive powerlifting.
Harris’ hard work and room for growth were seen in her state championship performance, in which she lifted 120 more pounds at the state title meet than at North Half.
“It’s pretty amazing because we set goals for her to increase, but I didn’t dream she’d increase that much. It was just sheer will and determination on her part,” Smith said.
Now, Herron and Harris, two leaders of their own teams, will be competing on the same team, looking to bring Blue Mountain success in its inaugural season.
The Blue Mountain Toppers powerlifting team will begin competition next spring in the USA Powerlifting organization, where they will compete against schools nationwide from all divisions. Division I schools in the organization include Texas A&M, Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Monroe and Louisiana-Lafayette.