Harmony and St. Cloud got nearly all of their weightlifters through Friday’s District 2A-11 meet into the regional round, and in the process waged a darn good battle for the district championship.
In the end it was the Longhorns (77 points) with three district champions and depth in its lineup, nosing out the Bulldogs (73), despite the hosts having four district champions. Osceola (34) with two champions was third, followed by Liberty (13) with one champ, Celebration (9), Tohopekaliga (6) and Poinciana (3). Gateway did not send lifters.
The top six in each weight class earned a spot in the Region 6 meet, at St. Cloud on Friday afternoon. That will be followed by the Orange Belt Conference meet April 3 and the state meet the following week.
Harmony Coach Nick Lippert said competition for spots on the team has been fierce.
“I had some young guys beat out some veterans for their spots. We put the guys in the line up that have the best chance to do well,” he said. “Facing Saint Cloud, all year I knew it would be close between us. We had several guys step up and place higher than expected which ultimately helped us out for the district title and in doing so we qualified, if I’m not mistaken, 19 out of 20 lifters and the one that didn’t just missed it by five pounds.”
Harmony got wins from Elijah Hernandez (150-pound bench press, 160 clean and jerk at 119 pounds, Markus Sowles (265-245—510) at 154 and Garret Breeding (345-200—545).
St. Cloud’s winners were Tyler Indio (129, 200-205—405), Ja’Von Shackleford (139, 245-240—485), Chris Gallagher (219, 265-305—570) and Dion Thomas (238, 305-235—540).
Bulldogs Coach Cory Aun said his lineup was set to maximize lifter’s chances to get to the state meet in Panama City.
“We knew winning the district was going to be tough. We had two guys who missed their third attempts that would have put us in a tie with Harmony overall,” he said. “Osceola scored points in three classes that were critical to the outcome of the meet as well and they took first in 169 and 183 that I had us projected to win.”
Those Kowboys who took district titles were DeWayne McGee (169, 270-210—480) and Bradley Martin (183, 275-230—505).
Liberty’s Edward Hatton (390-280—670) won at heavyweight, despite Harmony’s Joseph Derryberry hitting the meet’s best lift, a 320-pound clean.
Aun said Polk County will bring depth to the regional meet, where the regional champ and the next best dozen or so lifters earn a spot at the state meet.
“It will be a different story Friday,” he said.