KEYSTONE HEIGHTS - In their own gymnasium and without a full lineup due to a rodeo injury, Keystone Heights High boys weightlifting coach Lantz Lowery was a bit sheepish after his boys weightlifting team took their second major weightlifting trophy with a win at the Clay County Weightlifting Championships held on Wednesday.
“We had some great lifts from guys who stepped up knowing the team was without some key guys,” said Lowery, with a coy smile. “Our depth is stronger than one guy winning a title. It was nice to see them compete hard as a team being a man or two down.”
Just two weeks prior, Keystone Heights battled to a top team tie with Pace High at the Suwannee High Bulldog Classic with just one individual champion; Ulysses Freed in the 139 pound division, but with a handful of Indians in the top five.
District 2-3A: at Oakleaf High School, Thurs., April 1, First Lifts 11am (Fleming Island, Oakleaf, Bartram Trail, Buchholz, Creekside, Nease)
District 4-2A: at Ridgeview High School, Wed., March 31, First lifts 4:30 p.m. (Ridgeview, Orange Park, Middleburg, Bishop Kenny, Raines, Yulee)
District 5-2A: at St. Augustine High School, Wed., March 31, First lifts 3:30 p.m. (Clay, Matanzas, Menendez, Ponte
Vedra, St. Augustine)
District 8-1A: at Keystone Heights High School, Tues., March 30, First lifts 2:30 p.m. (Keystone Heights, Bradford, Crescent City, Interlachen, Palatka, Taylor)
Region 1-3A (District 1, 2) at Oakleaf High School, Fri., April 9, First lifts 10:30 a.m.
Region 1-2A (Districts 1-4) at Arnold High, Fri., April 9, First lifts 11 a.m.
Region 2-2A (Districts 5-6) at St. Augustine High School, Wed., April 7, First lifts 3:30 p.m.
Region 2-1A: at West Nassau High School, Sat., April 10, First lifts 3 p.m.
Thurs.-Sat., April 22-24 (Site not set)
“We will be pushing for heavier weights in the next week or so as districts start and the region to state meet opportunity gets here,” said Lowery. “Winning this is a good momentum builder.”
Led by Zach Glovers’s individual win at 139; Glover was third behind Freed at Suwannee, Keystone Heights outdistanced runnerup Fleming Island with 62 team points to Fleming Island’s 44. The rest of the teams scores were Oakleaf 27, Ridgeview 25, Orange Park 24, Clay 20 and Middleburg 16.
With a massive 655 pound total, Fleming Island’s Ricky Joseph, in the heavyweight division, had the highest total of the day.
In the event ending battle of the day featuring final lifts in the 154 pound division from Fleming Island’s Will Stephens, Ridgeview’s A.J. Beaufort and Keystone Heights’ Colton Tibbetts, the trio battled to chase down Beaufort’s 315 pound bench press en route to a 575 total. Stephens and Tibbetts benched 255 and 270, respectively, to set the final lifts up, but could not close the gap. Beaufort held at 260 on the clean and jerk with Stephens and Tibbets cleaning 280 and 275 to fall short.
“Thats was probably three state medalists battling with all three quite possible state champions,” said Lowery. “Stay tuned.”
Keystone Heights got a title to Kade Sanders at 169 with a 575 total with Orange Park’s JoJo Restall second at 525.
At 183, Middleburg High’s Stone Newsome finished with a 610 total; 315 bench, 295 clean and jerk, in a strong showing for the Broncos. Keystone Heights’ Kaleb Vojnozki gave chase with a 565 total.
Ridgeview’s Joe Reed, at 199, bested the field with a 640 total with Keystone Heights’ Tyler Rozier second at 530.
“Joe and A.J. are two good bets for state titles,” said Ridgeview High coach Matt Knauss. “They both won titles at the Suwannee invitational and know how to lift strong in big meets.”
At 219, Fleming Island got its second big total with Tim Thomas pushing up 620 with a strong 325 bench press.
At 238, Fleming Island football linebacker Alex Maier won with a 620 total.