Lady Dogs defend OBC weightlifting
By Rick Pedone
St. Cloud claimed the Orange Belt Conference crown for the first time in five years last season and sent two lifters to the state tournament.
The Lady Bulldogs will be challenged by former champion Harmony for the conference crown this year.
Several county teams should be improved this season with lifters capable of earning state meet berths.
Coach Lonnie Beckel, St. Cloud’s only coach since the program’s inception a decade ago, has grown in size but must replace departed state qualifiers Sarah Boroski, who graduated, and transfer Diana Gatlin.
Other potential Lady Bulldogs lifters were derailed by injuries over the summer, Beckel said.
News-Gazette Photo/Andrew Sullivan
St. Cloud’s Haley Webber is one of several Osceola County weightlifters with the potential to reach the state tournament.
“We’ve definitely got some holes to fill,” he said. “We’re young, we’ve got a lot of new girls, but we can see them getting better every day.”
Among the squad’s best lifters this season are Tetyana Solsko (110), Leeah Schroeder (119), Danielle Rincon (139), McKenzie Woodard (154), Sidney Vanderlann (183), Haley Weber (199) and Brianna Kuzara (unlimited).
Beckel expects the OBC meet to be as competitive as it ever has been.
“We think we will do well, but we’re going to have to step up,” Beckel said. “There probably is more talent around the county than I can ever remember. All of these teams have at least a few pretty talented lifters who should do well. It’s not going to be easy to repeat, that’s for sure.”
Coach John Wallauer Jr.’s team will be formidable this season as it is bigger and more talented, he said.
“This year instead of only having 16 lifters to compete we have a full squad of 40 girls on the team,” he said. “Our goal is to win OBC and qualify a few for state.”
Sarah Young, at 169 pounds, set records for the clean and jerk and total lift (140-145-285) as did unlimited lifter Kaylin Clark (125-145-270) at an early season meet. Clark tied teammate Paige Wright’s record.
Also returning are Cierra McTarsney (101), Kelsie Brienriker (110), Ashlee Olson (129), Brook Boccinfuso (139), Adalyn Gaston (139), Amanda Watson (154), Holle Middleton (169) and Sydney LeMaster (199).
Newcomers include Madison Perkins (110), Payton Osborne (119), Alyssa Keating (119), Baylee Calderon (129), Kelsey Tanner (154) and Destynee Deisch (199).
“Right now we’re looking good, a little ahead of schedule,” Wallauer said. “When we get the county together, it’s going to be close.”
Coach Joel Campbell said his team has the potential for a good season because several lifters from last season are back.
The returnees include Shanna Nelson, Ja’Niya Campbell, Haylee Green, Michelle Chalas and Tays Cruz.
“The girls have been working extra hard and I am very impressed,” he said.
Newcomers Veronica Pineiro and Ariana Bachman also will compete, Campbell said.
Coach Joel Fox, in his first season, has a promising squad that is bolstered by the presence of state qualifier Diana Gatlin, who transferred from St. Cloud.
“Diana is a big addition for us,” he said.
“We have about twice as many girls as any of the previous years, so that’s helping us fill some weight classes.”
Shanny O’Connor and Sulibeth Velez are track athletes who are lifting weight this season.
“We think both have a chance to make the state meet,” Fox said.
Annika Michie is a four-year veteran, while Jahmeesah Coleman and Angie Belanger are young lifters with promise, Fox said.
Coach Rob Weilert said his team is inexperienced but full of hard working lifters.
“We only have one returning lifter from last year’s squad,” he said. “However, our girls are very motivated and working hard.”
Senior Denise Gonzalez returns.
Weilert said newcomers Arlene Pena, Jaritssa Olivea-Villanue, Martine Delatour and Alexis Casiano all should be competitive.
“I’m very excited to see the kind of progress we can make as the year goes on,” he said.
Coach Eric Pinellas said his team is young, but has promise.
“It’s a rebuilding year with the loss of some key ladies due to graduation,” he said.
Pinellas said many of his lifters show promise, including Gisel Santiago, Nydaiyah Brown and Kelsey Jones at 101 pounds, and Kalie Jones and Tyreanna Rodrigues-Bowser at 110.
Nathalie Darbouze and Chantal Crockett will compete at 119, and Altamese Brown and K’Kia Boothe lift at 129.
Brianna Jackson and Anissa Martin are the lifters at 139. Rachael Greller and Claire Arendas compete at 154, and Shayna Hart and Abigail Kendrick compete at 169. At 183 are Lyric Hiracheta and Rose Donaldson.
“We will be young, but competitive,” Pinellas said.
Coach Cliff Branch said his lifters include Stephanie Rosado (119), Atalia Rodriguez (129), Ana Green (139), Acaica Dunkley (154) and Nekisha Bailey (169).