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Bulldogs take 2A-12 girls weightlifting district

Posted on Thursday, January 11, 2018 at 5:42 pm

By Ken Jackson
Sports Editor

The march back to the state girls weightlifting meet began Wednesday with the District 2A-11 event at St. Cloud High.

The Bulldogs, looking for a repeat of last year, when they sent seven lifters to state, had qualifiers for the next round, the Region 6 meet next Saturday in Vero Beach, in every weight class, and tallied 71 points to win the district title.

The meet, which had every county school minus Poinciana (which competed in District A-11 in Frostproof Wednesday), was much like a soft preview of the Jan. 24 Orange Belt Conference event, where St. Cloud will be looking for its seventh straight conference title.

Liberty (53), trying to eclipsed the three lifters it sent to state last season, pushed St. Cloud all evening and was second, scoring points in nine of the 10 weight classes. The rest of the field included Osceola (31), Harmony (28), Freedom (23), Lake Nona (10), Cypress Creek (3) and Celebration (1).

The top six in each weight class punched a ticket to Vero Beach.

The meet had a handful of highlights. St. Cloud’s Maria Sandoval, a rookie lifter, was one of six first-year lifters to qualify for regionals by winning the district championship with a 235-pound total (115 bench, 120 clean and jerk). And unlimited lifter Essence Tornabene rocked the gym when she broke her own school record with a 200-pound clean on the way to a 380-pound total and a district title.

Yohali Aldana (155-160—315) also won a district title for St. Cloud.

Osceola claimed two titles with Virginie Beljour (101 pounds, 130-140—270) and Jaeda Ray (129, 125-145—270), and Liberty got two from Kelly Benson (119, 105-135—240) and Destiny Washington (150-140—290). Harmony’s Madison Ewen (199, 155-125—280) was also a district champ.

“I told the girls their job is top 6 and once that has been done I wanted them to try and accumulate as many points as possible for the team score,” St. Cloud Coach Corey Aun said. “I was very proud of the girls that we scored points in every single weight class against some very good lifters. We lost to Liberty at the very beginning of the season and they have been amazingly tough all year. We have faced them almost a dozen times in meets this season. (Coach) Rob Weilert has done an absolutely fantastic job with those girls. Very few realize the amount of preparation and effort it takes to get these lifters to where they are now. I think we have six or eight girls from our district who will be on the medal podium at the state meet in Panama City in February.”

Liberty advanced 14 of 17 lifters, and Weilert called it “A good day.”

“I knew we would need some breaks to take the team title, but I’m proud of how the girls battled and fought for points,” he said. “Our team is pretty young, 12 girls were lifting at the district meet for the first time. So now we will be turning our attention to a really tough regional competition. I’m excited to see what we can do and if we can qualify girls for the state meet while also getting ready to compete for an OBC title on the 24th.”