FLEMING ISLAND - Fleming Island High's boys weightlift team got a chance to see state championship level lifting with Class 1A defending champion Baker County High visiting for the Fleming Island Invitational and showing off some prowess en route to the overall team title with 46 points, but with Fleming Island close by with 37 points. Fleming Island finished eighth in 2A last year with champion Tyler Nguyen at 154 pounds.
Area lifters will be vying for state meet berths in the upcoming district and region meets with Oakleaf High hosting the district 4-2A championships on Thurs., March 14 (Noon start), Baker County hosting the district 6-1A championship meet on Thurs., March 14 (3:30pm start) and Keystone Heights hosting the district 9-1A championship meet on Fri., March 15 (2 p.m. start).
At the Fleming Island Invitational, held in February, weight class champions included Michael Williams from Oakleaf in the 119 pound division with a total of 390 to edge out a 385 total from Fleming Island's Ian Ali; Keystone Heights' Ulysses Freed taking second to Baker County's D.J. Duron 415-385 in the 129 weight division and Fleming Island's Nick Bethea's 395 total second to Baker County's Josh Dialo's lift total of 475 in the 139s with Keystone Heights' Jesse Donohue third at 385.
In the middle weights division, 154 was won by Baker County's Marcus Dialo at 575 pounds with Orange Park's Alex Collier second at 490 and Oakleaf's Zech Nesby third at 480.
At 169, Will Lam of Matanzas racked up an incredible 630 total with a 350 bench to top Fleming Island's Andrew Thomas who finished with 600 with a 325 bench press.
At 183, Orange Park's Zykiem Sermons barely nipped 600 with a 590 total to win convincingly over Matanzas Richard Knowles who totaled 525.
In the heavies, at 199, Orange Park's David Araujo was tops at 655 with a 330 bench and 285 clean and jerk with Marlon Pollard of Columbia a distant second at 580.
At 219, Matanzas' Skyelar Williams-Michaud finished at 635 with a 305 clean and jerk to beat Columbia's Tyler Johnson-Jones by just 10 pounds with Baker County's Brandon Combs just five pounds away from Johnson-Jones in one of the closest battles of the day.
At 238, Fleming Island's Jeremiah Jackson bested the field at 610 with Carter Semione of Keystone Heights second at 605.
In the Unlimited, Matanzas Seaton Wildhauer hoisted an unprecedented 725 total with a 380 bench and a 345 clean and jerk for the best performance of the day with Tyler Burnsed of Baker County second at 685. Dan Dodd of Keystone Heights was third at 685 in the battle of the big boys.
The final team points were Baker County 46, Fleming Island 37, Matanzas 29, Orange Park 27, Keystone Heights 24, Oakleaf 18, Columbia 16, Clay 13, Nease 6 and St. Augustine 4.