GREEN COVE SPRINGS - With an historic season last year with two team state titles and a handful of individual state champions, Clay High girls weightlifting coach Rodney Keller created a summit of …
GREEN COVE SPRINGS - With an historic season last year with two team state titles and a handful of individual state champions, Clay High girls weightlifting coach Rodney Keller created a summit of sorts to see just what the rest of the county might look like, competitively.
“Nothing really changes from last year to now,” said Keller, team state champions in Traditional and also in Olympic Snatch in 2021. “The process is the same. You return and try to do that same things that were successful last year.”
Keller’s invites for the tri-meet with Middleburg and St. Johns Country Day School featured five state champions in one room and a much-larger number of challengers to the Lady Blue Devils dominance.
“We have a few champions returning at Clay; Geniyah Stevens, Emma Heck, Kyleigh Lafary, so the expectations are really high,” said Keller. “We have a process that worked and will be sticking to it.”
From St. Johns Country Day School, coach Justin Frisbee saw a two-fold jump in his team with twice as many athletes coming out for the team after a stellar first year from his own state champion; daughter Addison Frisbee in the Olympic Snatch discipline.
“We’ve got double the size in here; 12 girls, so that’s good,” said Frisbee. “We are hoping to qualify a couple of them this year. You can look around the room and see the new faces.”
Frisbee’s optimism is evident in the fact that his small team is included in the mix of county powerhouses.
“It’s not often that a team like ours, just kind of getting our feet on the ground and building gets invited to a meet like this where there are five state champions walking the floor,” said Frisbee. “Most of the kids come first to improve their other sports; we got four softball players here, and then we got some that this is their first time lifting weights. I’ve learned that I don’t have to travel far to get good competition.”
For Middleburg coach Rhiannon Weiskopf, who had her own contingency at the Class 2A championship meet last year, along with husband Chase, the chase (no pun) to take down Clay is part of her process after both were put into Class 2A.
“Of course, this being our first meet is a good one to get all of our nerves out and see where we are,” said Weiskopf. “The entire county’s success has added to all the school’s programs. We have 85 athletes just in our program and that makes it difficult to pick 30 of the best to go to meets.”
Weiskopf sees a trend in other sports athletes using weightlifting as a supplement, then finding it a new sport for themselves.
“We get athletes come into the room for their other sports then find out they kind of love the sport,” said Weiskopf. “It’s a good situation for both sports.”
In 2022, volleyball stars Allison Cox and Taylor Mills were to of Weiskopf’s state lifters with Katlyn Griffin an unlimited region champion.
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