Four from county earn weightlifting all-state, including a first for Toho


Four Osceola County athletes earned all-state honors with top six finishes last Saturday at the FHSAA State Girls Weightlifting Championships.

Most county schools competed in the Class 3A meet hosted by St. Cloud High School; while Harmony had a single competitor at the Class 2A meet at Suwanee High School.

In the 3A meet, Kaitlyn Gallagher took fourth place at the 110-pound weight class with a two-lift total of 255-pounds. Celebration’s Maia Hincappie captured six place in the 169-pound weight class with a 340-pound total, while Harmony’s Adriana Rosa finished fourth in the 2A meet at the 139-pound weight class with a 315-pound total.

In a school first, Tohopekaliga had its first all-state performer, as Hannah Ylimaz-Rodriguez took third in the 129-pound weight class with a 150-pound bench and a 180-pound clean and jerk for a 330 total. It was the highest individual finish by an Osceola County athlete and was just 5 pounds behind second place finisher Olivia Lipari of Hagerty (155-180-335). Toho came into existence three years ago.

“It was a great day for Hannah and our program,” Tohopekaliga Head Coach Robert Weilert said. “She really brought it in both the bench and clean and jerk— hitting a lift she hasn’t made all season.”

Prior to the meet, St. Cloud Head Coach Cory Aun said he felt he had five lifters who had a chance to earn all-state status. Although only Gallagher reached that goal, Aun was anything but disappointed. In fact the opposite was true.

“We had some great outstanding efforts but unfortunately some other competitors in the meet also had career days,” he said.

Among the near misses, Lady Bulldog lifters Maya Indio (101) finished one spot off the podium in seventh place and Savanah O’Neill also finished in seventh place at 169-pounds. Abby Davis (101) would have been a favorite for a top-six finish, but was forced to drop out of district meet qualifier due to COVID-tracing issues.

“We have a lot of talent coming back, including twin 129 pound sophomores, Jovani and Nyla Roberson, who continue to show extraordinary potential and finished in the top 10 this year. Ashley Aun (110) is just a freshman, who finished 10th and set personal bests in the state meet. With what we have coming back the potential for a team trophy next year is definitely within reach.”

Celebration also had several near misses at the podium, as Helena Huyke placed 7th at the 119-pound weight class and Kendall Matoska (139-pound class) was also 7th. Matoska actually finished in a five-way tie for fifth but was bumped to seventh because of the body-weight tie-breaker (to break a tie, the lightest lifter in body weight wins); Huyke tied for sixth, but again was dropped one spot by total body weight tiebreaker.

Navarre High School, behind the efforts of two individual state champions in Jelina Bly (101) and Jada Thomas (154), won the 3A state championship with 30 team points; Vero Beach (26) and Northport (20) finished second and third. Arnold (30 points) won the 2A state title, while host-school Suwanee (26) was class A state team champion.