LHS WLT Edward Hatton

Liberty heavyweight Edward Hatton, who has qualified for the Class 2A state weightlifting meet by winning a regional title, takes a crack at bench pressing 400 pounds at Wednesday's Orange Belt Conference meet.

Longhorns add OBC, regional titles to district championship

Call it a clean sweep for the Longhorns boys weightlifting program.

Harmony has taken District 2A-11, Region 6, and now the Orange Belt Conference team titles, the latest clinched Wednesday in the Longhorn gym.

It was less than a week (March 29) since Coach Nick Lippert’s group won the regional meet, and had to trudge through some lifts Wednesday. But the Longhorns tallied 81 points to beat out rival St. Cloud (74).

“I saw many lifters from all schools struggling physically including mine, which I know were also struggling mentally and emotionally,” Lippert said. “Our plan was to put the best line up in we could thinking if they all hit there lifts we would have a good shot at winning. We knew it would be close with St. Cloud, Coach (Cory) Aun does an amazing job with those guys and always has a plan. After I had three guys not even score I thought for sure St. Cloud was going to win. In the end though I had several guys step up and a few guys take advantage of other lifters from other schools struggling with fatigue like we were. It was actually quite the surprise.”

Osceola (27), Liberty (16), Celebration (3), Tohopekaliga (3) and Poinciana (2) made up the rest of the OBC field.

Last week, with a deep pool of Polk County wrestlers from places like Winter Haven, Auburndale, Lake Region and Haines City bolstering the fields, Harmony (38 points) and St. Cloud (30) took the top two spots at the regional meet, where lifters hit qualifying lifts for state.

The Kowboys (19) were fifth and Chargers (7) were 10th, but more importantly, those four schools got a total of 13 lifters on to the state meet.

Harmony’s Marcus Sowles (255-245—500) at 154 pounds and Garret Breeding (345-265—610 and hit all six lifts) at 199 won regional titles, which automatically sends them on to the Class 2A state weightlifting meet at Panama City Arnold next weekend.

St. Cloud’s Javon Shackleford (250-235—485) won at 139 and Liberty’s Edward Hatton (395-295—690) won the heavyweight class.

Nine lifters who were among the 12 best at regionals across the state who didn’t win a title will join them at the state meet: St. Cloud’s Tyler Indio (seeded 16th out of 20 at 129 pounds), Colton Weismore (14th at 139), Chris Gallagher (18th at 219); Harmony’s Cameron Scheerer (11th at 139), Matthew Mason (20th at 154), Joseph Derryberry and Jacob Kreutz (11th and 16th at heavyweight); and Osceola’s Carlos Dorkpo (19th at 219) and Sevian Martin (17th at heavyweight).

OBC champions were: Eli Hernandez (Harmony, 119, 150-150—300), Indio (129, 190-205—395), Scheerer (139, 240-220—660), Sowles (154, 260-245—505), Collin Yi (Harmony, 169, 215-235—450), Bradley Martin (Osceola, 183, 275-250—525), Breeding (199, 340-245—585), Jhamal Williams (Osceola, 219, 320-260—580), Charles Sargent (St. Cloud, 238, 315-205—520, tied with teammate Dion Thomas, won on body weight) and Derryberry (heavyweight, 345-330—675)

Lippert said Wednesday was a good warmup for the lifters going on to state, physically and mentally.

 “I believe last night may have humbled them some, which will only motivate them thru practice this next week. I fully expect my guys to give it their best next week and our goal is to see how many we can place, and hopefully break our school record for points scored at states.”