Clay punches back at 2A clash with Broncos

By Randy Lefko Sports Editor
Posted 1/20/21

OAKLEAF – Dominating has been the Clay High forte at girls weightlifting the past decade, albeit in Class 1A, but the Lady Blue Devils answered some questions on moving to the bigger Class 2A …

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Clay punches back at 2A clash with Broncos

Posted

OAKLEAF – Dominating has been the Clay High forte at girls weightlifting the past decade, albeit in Class 1A, but the Lady Blue Devils answered some questions on moving to the bigger Class 2A ranks, with 2A regular Middleburg High throwing their own weight (pun intended) around, with a Clay County title Friday afternoon at Oakleaf High School.

“They are a good target as they have been one of the strongest Class 1A programs for a long time and we’re chasing them,” said Middleburg coach Rhiannon Weiskopf, who chased to second place with Clay winning at 71 points, Middleburg at 47, and Ridgeview edging Oakleaf for third; 39-37. “We’ve got a pretty good team at Middleburg and now they are with the bigger schools. This was our first time seeing them (Clay). We’ll see them at districts next week.”

In probably the most competitive weight class of the day; 110 pounds, Oakleaf High’s Tamira Briley and Clay High’s Sam Migliore traded upsmanships throughout the day with Briley’s record-setting bench press prowess holding the line winning a duel that showcases two possible state champions coming home in February. Briley benched at 170 with Migliore at 135, while both cleared impressive clean and jerk lifts; 160 for Briley and 155 for Migliore to put both hats in the ringer for state podium finishes.

“That’s a good matchup for the county championships, but we are 3A and they are 2A,” said Oakleaf coach Ben White. “It would be nice to see both coming home with golds.”

Both totals; 330 for Briley, 290 for Migliore were 80 plus pounds ahead of third place, Gabrielle Etheridge of Clay at 210.

Clay got wins at 101 from Morgan Greer over Ridgeview’s Brianne Adams with Orange Park’s Dianna White third; 119 from Riley Ledford; 139 from Bailey Kumm; 154 from Janiyah Stevens’ 169 from Serena Torres and Unlimited Kyleigh LeFary.

For Stevens, just a sophomore and a state qualifier last year, another dominating win has come simply by focus. Behind Stevens was Middleburg’s Ali Cox.

“She simply does everything in her day to improve her weightlifting and that’s the sign of a champion,” said Clay coach Rodney Keller, noting Stevens total at state last year was 260; her total at Oakleaf was 340. “Sleep, eat, rest, recover, lift, cardio, study is all about improving her sport. It’s a beautiful thing.”

Stevens only executed two lifts for the win with districts next week.

“I was pretty comfortable coming in for the win and confident that I didn’t have to go big to win,” said Stevens. “I’m pretty Zen-like when I’m out there. I was pushed at Suwannee.”

Stevens, who crushed the competition before the Christmas break at a pseudo-pre state invitational against powerhouse Suwannee High School, the formula is a combination of working hard and having the coaching of experienced state meet former Clay lifters like Lindsey Brooks and Autumn Null in the room.

“They are both relaxed competitors that focus on the details,” said Stevens. “They are very reassuring.”

Middleburg got titles at 199 from Katlyn Griffin; at 183 from Jewell Taylor and 129 from Leslie Catlett.

“Katlyn Griffin is a possible state placer, she’s been there twice before,” said Weiskopf. “We have two or three girls that can get to state. With districts next week, we were not going all out so we’ll see.”

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