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Four Lobo powerlifters headed for state meet

By Hayden Henry
March 20, 2014 at 11 p.m.

This past fall as the Lobos were gearing up to hit the football field, Longview strength coach John Janecek told the team that they were all trying out for the powerlifting team as well.

For Longview, there's no powerlifting practice, no designated time to work on the weekly meets per say, the preparation is integrated into the day-to-day workouts be it for the football team or any athletic program.

"I tell them all at the beginning of the year that they're all trying out for the powerlifting team whether they know it or not," Janecek said. "There's no special or extra work that's being done for these meets - it's the same stuff that we do with all the offseason kids - football, basketball, every program."

This year's powerlifting season has been one for the books for the Lobos after sending a school-record 12 competitors to the regional meet.

It comes to fruition Saturday as four Lobos will compete in the state meet in Abilene.

Seniors Cory Flanagan and Clay Layman, who completed a Lobo sweep of the 181-pound class at the Region III, Division I Championships on March 8, will join underclassman Omar French (220-pounds) and Cornelius Zachary (165-pounds) this weekend.

With two seniors and two underclassman competing, Janecek sees the progression as a cycle. As the seniors move on, younger lifters step up for their chance.

"Clay, for instance, is a lot like sophomore Bryan Gilliland was this year, he went to regionals last year as an underclassman and continued to work and work and now is competing at a higher level," Janecek said. "He'll move on and we've got guys coming behind that will follow -- it's a cycle of kids getting bigger and stronger."

For Layman, the difference between his freshman year lifting and the three years since under Janecek's tutelage has been night and day.

"I was a part of the old program and what Coach Janecek has done has made everything 10 times better," Layman said. "IT's going to not only help the football team but the entire program from here on out."

Flanagan is heading to the state meet after his first year of competing in powerlifting and points to the Lobos' offseason and in-season strength program as the main reason.

"There's been guys that have come back that aren't as strong as we are now and that's because of Coach Janecek and his program," Flanagan said. "He's the reason I'm on my way to state."

Longview athletic director John King added on the two seniors: "Those are two guys that are true Lobos that enjoy competing for their school. It's sometimes hard for seniors to stay involved, especially in the spring but those two have remained dedicated and continued to work hard and are being rewarded with a trip to state."

French and Zachary represent the next part of the cycle. Both juniors, French is returning to the state meet after qualifying as a sophomore and Zachary is going after his first year competing.

"Coach Janecek's program has made me faster, stronger -- everthing," French said. "You can't go to a regular gym and get the workout and results that we get in here. As far as state, I want to set my personal record, which is a goal of every meet."

Zachary commented that the Lobos don't need a separate powerlifting practice.

"In Longview football, we're lifting every day and that's helped a lot to get to this point," Zachary said. "Everyone is getting bigger and stronger and that's what we need.

"We don't practice for powerlifting -- it's all from football and Coach Janecek's offseason program."



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