KEYSTONE HEIGHTS - With five individual titles and a handful of top five finishes by numerous athletes, Keystone Heights High boys weightlifting coach Lantz Lowery’s secret sauce to winning a …
KEYSTONE HEIGHTS - With five individual titles and a handful of top five finishes by numerous athletes, Keystone Heights High boys weightlifting coach Lantz Lowery’s secret sauce to winning a possible second state title could be a possibility after his Indians powered to a second straight Clay County state title Friday in the Keystone Heights High School gym.
“It’s a great thing to see the level of competition that is gathered here with two defending state champion teams (Keystone Heights Class 1A and Fleming Island Class 3A) in the same building in one county,” said Lowery. “That has to be a first time thing around the state. We like to think we have one of the best counties in this sport.”
Lowery’s assertion was bolstered by his lifters who got titles with big lifts from Ulysses Freed (154), Nathan Tisdale (169), Tyler Anthony=Rozier (219), Caleb Moncrief (238) and Mason Dicks (Unlimited) who all won impressively as the Indians scored 85 team points with Oakleaf and Fleming Island tied for runnerup with 41 points.
“We went to a meet at Flagler Palm Coast High and got a little jawboning about being a 1A school in a 3A tournament until we won the tournament,” said Keystone Heights senior Logan Williams, who finished second to teammate Nathan Tisdale at 169. “We don’t worry about who is in what class, we just compete.”
Tisdale and Williams’s 1-2 finish featured a 320 bench from Williams and a 295 clean and jerk from Tisdale for the five point total difference.
“As long as we all lift our near max weights in the next two weeks and don’t do anything dumb in preparing for the state title defense, we should have a handful of guys in the top five in the final three championship meets,” said Lowery, who ran the table last year with the county meet title followed by overwhelming titles at districts, regions and at the state meet. “Who comes out on top is the difference of the day.”
In the 183 division, where Keystone Heights’ Tyler Jenkins resides, Oakleaf clamped down with a first and third finish sandwiched around Jenkins with Oakleaf newcomer Gabriel Oliveria hammering the best performance of the day with a 380 bench press followed by a 250 clean and jerk to win that crown with Jenkins and Spangler going toe to toe in the clean and jerk with Spanglers hoisting 280 and Jenkins upping 275 for the five point difference to Jenkins. Jenkins outbench Spangler 325-305 to create enough cushion for the runnerup spot.
The impressive showing from Oliveria came by way of a chance bench press in his Oakleaf High weightlifting class.
“I was just lifting for the class and the coach saw me and asked me to come out for the team,” said Oliveria, a transfer senior student to Oakleaf. “I never even thought of being on the team, but, once here, with the coaching and repetition, I improved by technique and totals very quickly. We’ll see what happens from here.”
For Oakleaf coach Jake Scott, the assertion was not a question.
“We did a max bench press to have a line for the start of the class and he benched 365,” said Scott, noting the state record for 183 bench press is 410 pounds. “I did not ask him if he wanted to be on the team, I said you are now on the team and now in my fifth period class. He wants that record.”
Oliveria’s 630 total, at 183, with his 380 bench press and a 250 clean total was just pounds off the totals for the winners of the 218 class (Tyler Rozier Keystone Heights 635), 238 class (Caleb Moncrief Keystone Heights 650) and Unlimited class (Mason Dicks Keystone Heights 680).
“To lift what he lifts and weigh just 183 is a testament to his work ethic in the gym,” said Scott. “He has been a gym guy and worked and gone to school only up to this point.”
Oakleaf, Orange Park, Fleming Island Middleburg all garnered county champions with the Knights going 1-2 in the 119 division with Ernest Kreschtmar and Jalen Jones on top and Cam Griffieth won at 129 for Orange Park ahead of Keystone Heights defending state champion Wyatt VanZant with both tying at 420 for a total. Griffieth weighed in three pounds less than VanZant for the division win.
At 139, Fleming Island got their line champion with Justin Nolley tying at 500 totals with Zack Glover of Keystone Heights, but weighing two pounds lighter. Both cleared 275 in bench and 235 in clean and jerk. Ridgeview’s Chris Baptiste was third.
At 154, Keystone Heights finished 1-2 with Ulysses Freed and Logan Hovesepian hitting 520 and 510 ahead of Joseph Lava of Orange Park.
Middleburg’s champion came from T.J. Lane at 199 who beset Jared Rhodes of Fleming Island by five pounds with a 290 bench and 255 clean and jerk.
Keystone Heights dominated at 219 with Tyler Anthony-Rozier and Trey Jeffries totaling 635 and 620 ahead of Fleming Island’s Gage Isbell’s third place 570. Rozier cleared 350 on the bench for the winning gap.
At 238, Moncrief and Oakleaf’s Prince Savea dueled to a 650 tie with Savea nine pounds heavier taking second. Savez and Fleming Island’s Ricky Joseph both got 365 on the bench to lead, but Moncrief dominated the clean and jerk with a 335 to Savea’s 290. Joseph hit 285.
Dicks won Unlimited by 35 poundes over Wyatt Nordean of Oakleaf, 680-645 with Dicks upping 350 in clean and jerk for the best lift of the day. Keystone Heights’ Luke Snider was third at 340 to give the Indians a powerful final three lifters; Moncrief, Snider and Dicks to close the upcoming championship meets.
In the Olympic Snatch event, with limited participants, Keystone Heights won with 106 points over Ridgeview and Oakleaf, 26 and 16.
Winners were, at 119, Jalen Jones of Oakleaf at 110; Wyatt VanZant at 129 at 125; Chris Baptiste of Ridgeview at 139 with a 155 lift; Freed of Keystone Heights at 154 with a 185 lift; Gabe Harp of Middleb urg at 169 with a 205 lift; Bryar Schneck of Keystone Heights at 183 with a 200 lift; Jared Rhodes of Fleming Island at 199 with a 175 lift; Trey Jeffries of Keystone Heights at 219 with a 185 clearn; Moncrief at 238 with a 170 and Dicks at Unlimited at 185.
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