ABILENE, TEXAS — Of the 578 powerlifters invited to compete in Saturday's Texas High School Powerlifting Association State Championships in Abilene, Texas, four boys from Ellis County cracked the top 15. 

Midlothian's Dylan Hipsman and Waxahachie's Caleb High, Anthony Perez and Nick Stewart all made the cut for the strongest boys in the state. 

Hipsman, a Midlothian High School junior placed highest of the quartet, finishing with a bone-crunching 1,555 pounds lifted. His final total was 105 pounds away from the No. 1 finisher in the 220-pound weight class, Hutto High School's Paul Sanchez. 

He finished with a max squat of 580 pounds, a bench of 365 pounds and a standings-topping deadlift of 610 pounds. 

Waxahachie was equally well-represented as it was the only high school at the meet to place three athletes inside of the THSPA top 20. High, the next highest place at No. 11 in the 220-pound weight class and one of the two-non-seniors, squatted 600 pounds, benched 360 and deadlifted 585 for a final total of 1,545 pounds. 

Stewart, a senior, closed his career at Waxahachie High Schoo with a THSPA No. 15 finish in the 220-pound classification. He squatted 530 pounds, benched 380 and deadlifted 600 — more than 40 pounds higher than his personal best — for a total of 1,510 pounds. 

Perez, the second senior and the lone 242-pound competitor, ended his WHS powerlifting as the 15th best powerlifter in the state in his class. He finished with a max squat of 580 pounds, a one-rep bench of 390 pounds and a deadlift of 575 pounds.

His last lift, though, nearly vaulted him into top 10 conversation. He was literally an inch from sealing a 600-pound deadlift — a weight three lifters before him had tried and failed.

Though Perez and Stewart's high school powerlifting careers are over, High and Hipsman are expected to return and vie for state championship gold during their final year in Ellis County sports.

Marcus S. Marion can be reached for story idea submissions or concerns at (469) 517-1456. Follow him on Twitter at @MarcusMarionWNI