Fort Dale Academy powerlifters earns AISA 3A State Championship

Published 4:11 pm Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Fort Dale Academy athletes earned first place in the Alabama Independent School Association Class 3A Powerlifting competition hosted by Pickens Academy on Feb. 22 and took home the title of AISA Powerlifting State Champion.

Powerlifting coach Eric Folmar said weightlifting is an integral part of the school’s athletic program. All athletes accomplish weight training to prepare for their chosen sport.

“We are not training specifically to go to powerlifting meets,” Folmar said. “We have a weightlifting program which all our kids do. It is designed to help them become better overall athletes. We do all the lifts they perform at meets. Naturally, our kids are working really hard in our program and that crosses over into the powerlifting realm and allows them to have success there as well.”

Email newsletter signup

While all athletes practice powerlifting, not all attended the competition, Folmar said. The coach hopes more will choose to participate next year after witnessing the successes of their peers.

Some players especially enjoy the competition, Folmar said. One of those, Gray Thomas, placed first in his weight class and enjoys powerlifting at home and school.

“Gray is a big-time weight room guy,” Folmar said. “He has a squat rack in his bedroom and was first overall in his weight class. He also lifted more than anyone else at the meet. There wasn’t an award for that, but it was something he certainly took pride in being able to do.”

Several female athletes enjoy the sport too, Folmar noted. Three junior high girls competed in the championship and two of those placed during the competition.

“All three of those girls really bought into the weight room,” Folmar said. “They’ve done a really good job. They perform really well, especially for being as young as they are. A couple placed in their weight classes and showed really well, so all three have a tremendous future in the sport.”

Another athlete, Joseph Ealum, won first place in the 175-pound weight class and also lifted a total combined weight of 1035 for bench press, squats, and deadlifts.

“I enjoy seeing results and getting better,” Ealum said. “A month ago, I was doing half the weight I’m doing now. Just seeing the results is awesome to me. Going in [the weight room] and getting a workout with people around encouraging you, the coaches pouring encouragement into us, and being able to see results is awesome.”

Folmar said along with the State Championship title, several individual players placed in the competition and two earned Overall State Champion in their weight division. Athletes who placed at the competition were:

  • First place: Joseph Ealum, Jon Nolan Lawrence, and Gray Thomas;
  • Second place: Clay Gardner, Sterling Arnold, Bob Newton, Clay Benson, and Sarah Bowen;
  • Third place: Grace Baker;
  • Men’s Heavyweight Overall State Champion: Jon Nolan Lawrence; and
  • Women’s Middleweight Overall State Champion: Sarah Bowen.