OAKLEAF - Most every lifting champion from past Clay County chases has had some follow through story of just-misses, injuries or vast improvements, but Oakleaf High’s Gabe Oliveria is just one of …
OAKLEAF - Most every lifting champion from past Clay County chases has had some follow through story of just-misses, injuries or vast improvements, but Oakleaf High’s Gabe Oliveria is just one of those guys that can take the world by surprise right out of his home gym.
Oliveria, who has very little if any formal competition as a weightlifter except maybe him and his dad pounding for kitchen table gold in their gym, has become the talk of the town (of Port St. Joe maybe) as he enters the arena of a big arena and pressure situations pertaining to big lifts.
With just five pounds separating him on paper from a gold medal in his first shot at a state weightlift title, Oliveria is that untapped potential guy who has purported to wanted the 415 bench press state record on his resume.
“He has said he wants to put it out of reach (the record),” said Oakleaf coach Jake Scott, after a remarkable 375 lift that looked effortless at his district meet two weeks ago. “He is just raw power, but his approach is totally focused. He has a plan.”
Moore benched 300 at state last year with a miss at 305.
Where Oliveria is needing a bit of luck is in his clean and jerk where Niceville’s top ranked Addie Moore, the 169 runnerup last year by just five pounds, is nearly 60-70 pounds ahead of Oliveria.
On the bench press, Oliveria has about 50 pounds of leeway to concede on clean and jerk and the final lift result could be contingent on whether Oliveria’s constant improvement of technique from raw gym power to improved technical weightlifter comes at the right time.
“There is not much that I do then to just push him and encourage him,” said Scott. “He has been a sponge in the room learning as much as he can to improve.”
Oakleaf also has Prince Savea at 238 just 40 or so pounds away from a medal finish with his fourth ranked finish after regions leaving him in position to pounce. Pace top ranked Ty Wise sits at 695 with Savea and four others between 660 and 670 in a clump that is 25 pounds ahead of the field.
“I kind of knew Prince could have a strong finish,” said Scott. “If he hits his weights and maybe pushes just a bit, he’s a medal winner.”
At 139, Fleming Island’s lone chaser is Justin Nolley, who looks to grab a top three medal after a just-miss last year in the Golden Eagles’ historic Class 3A title run. Nolley was fourth at 129 last year by just five pounds with a 425 total behind Trajan White of Spruce Creek. State runnerup Dom Bennett of Flagler Palm Coast (470 total) is again in the running as the number two seed in 2022.
Two surprising misses are Fleming Island’s Rickey Joseph, the state runnerup last year at Unlimited and Musthafa Marshall, the fourth place finisher at 169. Fleming Island graduated a tough class from their state title team with champion Will Stephens at 154 and runnerup Alex Maier, now at football at Furman, at 238.
“We will be be back formidable next year,” said Fleming Island coach Damenyum Springs, the 3A coach of the year. “These guys are all very young but they will be right back here next year.”
3A state qualifiers
119: Jalen Jones OHS, Ernest Kreschtmas OHS
129: Austin Allred FIHS
139: Justin Nolley FIHS
154: Zach Davis FIHS
183: Gabriel Oliveria OHS
199: Jared Rhodes FIHS
219: Gage Isbell FIHS
238: Prince Savea OHS
Unlimited: Wyatt Nordean OHS
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