Keystone Heights dominates region weightlifts

By Randy Lefko Sports Editor
Posted 4/13/22

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS - Even with two key injuries; to two of his returning state champions, Keystone Heights High boys weightlifting coach Lantz Lowery coyly says of his region championship blowout; a …

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Keystone Heights dominates region weightlifts


KEYSTONE HEIGHTS - Even with two key injuries; to two of his returning state champions, Keystone Heights High boys weightlifting coach Lantz Lowery coyly says of his region championship blowout; a 72-31, topping with West Nassau the runnerup “I leave all that predicting stuff to you guys.”

“You guys” being sports writers that are amazed at the dominance of the Keystone Heights defending Class 1A champions who have scorched the competition thus far whereas last year, the Indians kind of snuck up at the end to run the table to the state title.

In Class 2A, at region 1-2A and at region 1-3A, area lifters had a tougher hill to climb with Orange Park’s Cam Griffieth, second at 129, and Oakleaf’s Gabriel Oliveria at 183 top finishers in those regions.

Without Zach Glover and Kade Sanders, both injured just prior to districts, Lowery still cranked up points to win districts decisively and, then returned the favor at the region 2-1A championships with another workday of top guys finishing in the top five to accrue big team points.

“If all of our guys hit their lifts and opening lifts, we have as good a chance as anyone to win the title,” said Lowery. “I am reminded of a team years ago that had the same scenario with a bunch of great kids, but that team missed most of their lifts and did miserable.”

In two weight classes at the regions, Lowery got a 1-2 finish from his boys; Ulysses Free and Landon Hovesepian at 154 and Logan Williams and Nate Tisdale at 169 to jettison the Indians to the top spot very quickly.

“A couple more state champions and a lot of guys in the top 10 is a good path,” said Lowery. “Logan was not with us last year because he was injured in a rodeo and we are hoping he has none this week. His presence is inspiring to the team.”

Not only were the 1-2 duos point-getters, Lowery got 2-3 spots from Tyler Jenkins and Clayton Kicklighter at 183 with Trey Jeffries and Tyler Rozier doing the same 2-3 finish at 219. Lowery got a 2-4 finish at 129 from Wyatt VanZant and Reid Begue.

By the way, individual titles also went to the big boys of 238 and Unlimited with Caleb Moncrief winning by 45 pounds and Mason Dicks winning via body weight with both he and Bolles strongman Brendan Black blasting 700 totals. Black weighed in at 308.3 while Dicks was a lean, mean 284.2.

In the Olympic Snatch competition, Keystone Heights doubled up over West Nassau again with an 81-23 score.

At 154, Freed combined with Sam Ulsch to go 1-2 with Tisdale combining with Ben Ulsch for second and third at 169.

Briar Schneck won at 183 with Jenkins third. Jaydon Goodman took third at 199 by just 10 pounds with Trey Jeffries winning at 219, Moncrief winning at 238 with Jackson Herman second and Dicks second to Black at Unlimited. Luke Snider was fourth at Unlimited.

In region 1-2A, Orange Park, Ridgeview and Clay tucked in at 12th, 13th and 14th with Middleburg 18th in some tough sledding for the local athletes.

In Olympic Snatch, Ridgeview fared better with a fifth place finish with second place finishes from Andrew Rexach at 129 and Chris Baptiste at 139. Middleburg got an Olympic Snatch region title from Gabe Harp at 169. Suwannee won both team titles; a 43-42 win in Traditional over Baker County while Suwannee also beat Baker County in Olympic Snatch; 70-39, with Ridgeview hoisting for 13 points.

For Clay, Logan Meszaros took third at 183 while Baptiste took fourth at 139.

In region 1-3A, Oakleaf finished ninth with defending 3A champion Fleming Island 11th.

Fleming Island got a third from Justin Nolley at 139 and seventh at 154 from Zach Davis.

Oakleaf’s Oliveria finished five pounds off the title behind Niceville’s Addie Moore despite a dominant 375 bench press to Moore’s 320. Moore cleaned 305 to Oliveria’s 245. Oakleaf also got a third from Prince Savea at 238 with Wyatt Nordean seventh at Unlimited. Ernest Kreschtmar was sixth at 119.

In region 1-3A Olympic Snatch with Oakleaf sixth behind Navarre, Oakleaf’s Jalen Jones finished second at 119 by five points with Elijah “Pork Chop” Shevchook seventh in 154. Champ Spangler took fourth at 183 with Fleming Island’s Jared Rhodes 10th at 199. Kyland Armstrong was third at Unlimited for Oakleaf.


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