ST. AUGUSTINE - With sophomore Janiyah Stevens the lone region champion at the region 2-2A weightlifting championships for Clay High, Blue Devil coach Rodney Keller’s answer to how things were …
ST. AUGUSTINE - With sophomore Janiyah Stevens the lone region champion at the region 2-2A weightlifting championships for Clay High, Blue Devil coach Rodney Keller’s answer to how things were going before teams entered the clean and jerk phase of the competition was simple. St. Augustine hosted the event on Wed., Jan. 27.
At Oakleaf in region 1-3A, Oakleaf High senior Tamira Briley dominated her 110 pound field for the region title by 50 pounds.
Clay High used a handful of top six finishers to steal away coach Rodney Keller’s first region title in Class 2A after Blue Devils dominated Class 1A previously.
“Tick Tock Tick Tock, there are a lot of great lifters here,” said Keller, as he observed his girls prepping for the second round of lifts at St. Augustine High. “Everyone will lift great and we’ll count each point as it comes.”
Keller’s prophecy at the midway point proved prophetic as the Lady Blue Devils wrestled away their first Class 2A region title away from historical 2A powerhouse New Smyrna Beach, fifth in 2A last year, and Class 1A’s Leesbury, second last year by six points to Arnold High. Clay was fourth in Class 1A last year just three points from third and five from second.
“January success(es) have been a product of team effort, from top to bottom,” said Keller. “You show up, work hard, try to do little things well, control the controllables, and put yourself in a position to have success by doing so consistently.”
Stevens, who has dominated her 154 pound weight class all season by as much as 40-60 pounds over her chasers, had to fend off Citrus High’s Rebecca Tatun, fifth at 139 in Class 1A last year with a 300 pound total with Stevens, in the same 139 weight class, able to clear just 255, for the region title with a five pound win off a five pound edge on the bench press. Stevens edged Tatun 345-340 at the regions to set up a classic showdown at the state meet next week at Suwannee High School.
“The future of our program is bright, as out of the entire lineup, we have three seniors,” said Keller. “In the meantime, we’ll be punching the time clock four days each week to give these girls a chance to make some great memories at the upcoming state meet.”
Clay’s region title came by way of a handful of top five finishes with runnerup spots to five Clay lifters; Morgan Greer (101), Samantha Migliore (110), Riley Ledford (119), Annalee Harbison (183) and Kyleigh LaFary (Unlimited).
Middleburg, Ridgeview and Orange Park also competed in the region 2-2A championship with top finishes for Middleburg coming with thirds to Leslie Catlett (129) and Jewel Taylor (183). For Ridgeview, freshman Brianna Adams (101) led a slew of Panthers in fifth place with Jolie Dresner (110), Tyra Sulph (129), Haley Beardin (169) and Kenyatta Hogan (199) all on the bubble to get invites to the state meet.
In region 1-3A, Oakleaf and Fleming Island were in with the likes of Navarre (second in 2A last year), Spruce Creek and Bartram Trail with Briley top finisher by a dominant margin. Fleming Island’s Markayla Madison, who totaled 355, was fourth at Unlimited 10 pounds from third; 20 from second. Winner Emillia Collins of Navarre won with an impressive 410 total. Navarre had four individual titles.
In region 2-1A, Keystone Heights sophomore Kaylee Wright was top finisher for the Lady Indians finishing sixth at 199.
For the state meet, region champions automatically advanced to the state meet while the next 12 best lifts will make the trip.
Going to state
101: Morgan Greer (CHS)
110: Samantha Migliore (CHS)
119: Riley Ledford (CHS)
129: Leslie Catlett (MHS), Marina McKean (CHS)
139: Bailey Kumm (CHS), Alyssa Cone (MHS)
154: Janiyah Stevens (CHS) region champ
169: Gianna Torres (CHS), Haley Beardin (RHS), Ava Harber (RHS)
183: Annalee Harbison (CHS), Jewel Taylor (MHS), London Francis (RHS)
199: Kenyatta Hogan (RHS)
Unlimited: Kyleigh LaFary (CHS), Emily Georgiades (MHS)
110: Tamira Briley (OHS) region champion
129: Ellie Bronson (OHS)
Unlimited: Markayla Madison (FIHS)