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Keystone Heights lifters dominate the county

OHS Shevchook is the top lifter of the day

Randy Lefko
Sports Editor
Posted 3/28/24

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS - Before the start of the Clay County Boys Weightlifting championships held Friday at Keystone Heights, Keystone Heights football and weightlifting coach Steven Reynolds pontificated …

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Keystone Heights lifters dominate the county

OHS Shevchook is the top lifter of the day


KEYSTONE HEIGHTS - Before the start of the Clay County Boys Weightlifting championships held Friday at Keystone Heights, Keystone Heights football and weightlifting coach Steven Reynolds pontificated his projection of the outcome.

"Any team that can get 40 or more points has a great chance to win at the state level," said Reynolds, who is side by side with head coach Lantz Lowery in the Indians' trek for a fourth straight team state title. "We have a couple of strong guys in each weight class, but the depth is key to a team title."
Reynolds' prophetic musings proved correct as the Indians blasted the Clay County field with a 68-40 1-2 finish over Middleburg in the Traditional scoring (Clean and Jerk/Bench Press) and an equally dominating 68-41 1-2 score over Oakleaf in the Olympic category (Olympic Snatch/Clean and Jerk).
With four individual champions in Olympic scoring; Jed Tisdale at 129; Wyatt Van Zant at 139 with a school record in clean and jerk at 260 pounds; Jayden Goodman at 219 and Trey Jeffries at 238.
In Traditional, Jeffries was dominant with a 705 total that would have won the Unlimited division with Jeffries hoisting a 365-pound bench press to add to his 340-pound clean and jerk.
Fortunately, for Lowery and Reynolds, Jeffries was the individual champion with his teammate, Brayden Hall, runner-up with a 555 total with Ridgeview's Braylon Hawkins third at 550, Middleburg's Travis McStephenson fourth at 515 and Oakleaf's Ethan Simons the fifth Traditional lifter (510) in the 238 division above 500 pounds.
In the Unlimiteds, 600 was the magic number with five lifters in the 600-plus range led by Middleb urg behemoth Gage Isbell at 645 with a 405 bench press and Keystone Heights Tyler Duncan giving chase with a 630 total off a 325 bench press. Third was Oakleaf's Tony Gray art 610 with a 345 bench press. Fleming Island's Kevin Reyes, the Olympic state champion last year, was third in Traditional with a 605 total, but a 10-pound winner over Gray in the Olympic Snatch with a 225 lift. Reyes hit 285 on Clean and Jerk with Duncan hitting a 305 on his second left with Reyes missing twice at 300. Duncan would miss his third lift at 315.
"Everyone is lifting big this year," said Middleburg coach Benjamin Traywick. "Our guys from the county will make a lot of noise at the state meet."
With all that beef lifting all that steel, it was ironic that Oakleaf's Elijah Shevchook at 154; weighing in at just 143 pounds, was named top lifter in both categories with impressive totals of 465 and 540 respectively. Shevchook went big on his first lifts in all three lifts; 205 Olympic Snatch, 260 Clean and Jerk, and 280 Bench Press, then attempted out-of-world lifts on lifts two and three. Shevchook's gauntlet led to wins by 100 pounds in Olympic and 40 pounds in Traditional with Fleming Island's Aidan Johannsen hitting the top bench press with a 285 lift leading the 154 lists. Johannsen did not compete in the Olympic Snatch. Keystone Heights' Davin Adams was third in Traditional with a 465 total.
The rest of the Traditional team scores included Oakleaf third at 36, Fleming Island fourth at 28, Ridgeview fifth at 21, Clay sixth at 19 and Orange Park seventh at eight. Fleming Island finished in a tie with Choctowhatchee at 19 points for the Traditional Class 2A title last year and tied at 25 points with Leesburg in Traditional. Keystone Heights was Class 1A champion for Traditional ahead of Suwannee at 41-35 with Suwannee dominating the Olympics score with a 49-29 win over a tie at 29 total for South Sumter and Keystone Heights.
In the Olympics, Middleburg was third at 31, Fleming Island fourth at 29, Ridgeview fifth at 25, Clay sixth at 21 and Orange Park seventh at four.
In Olympic Scoring, titles went to Ray Williams of Oakleaf at 119 with a 305 total with two lifters; Hayden Nepala of Clay and Jammes Harris of Middleburg tied at 265 with Nepala third by body weight; Tisdale at 129 with a 340 total ahead of Zerek Migliore of Clay by five pounds with Keystone Heights' Colton Hollingsworth third at 315; Van and Cristian Rodriguez of Oakleaf tied at 435 to lead at 139 with Van Zant lighter by a pound in body weight getting the win. Rodriguez hit 240 on his first attempt at clean and jerk with Van Zant opening at just 205 but lifting 245, then 260 on lifts two and three. Rodriguez missed twice at 250.
In the middleweights, Fleming Island defending state champion Tyler Beverly won in Olympics at 505 ahead of Ben Ulsch for Keystone Heights with Lucius Manley of Oakleaf totaling 405 to win at 183 and Colton Frew of Middleburg winning at 199 with a 475 total.
In Traditional, Keystone Heights' Tyson Baxter, at 119, tied the school record in bench press at 200 to tie with Williams in lift totals but winning by body weight. At 129, Ridgeview's Jayden Campbell was up by 10 at 410 to beat Migliore and Tisdale's 400 apiece. Campbell hit 220 on the bench to win the Traditional title with Migliore hitting 215 but missing at 225.
In 169, Ulsch and Beverly will be joined by Josh Senear of Middleburg as formidable state contenders with totals of 610 for Senear, 585 for Ulsch and 570 for Beverly, with Senear getting the top Clean and Jerk at 295 to Ulsch's 280 and then topping the field in bench press at 315 with Ulsch hitting 305.
In 183, Clay's Dayshon Douglas won with a 490 total over David Smith of Fleming Island and Layton Wright of Keystone Heights both at 470.

2023 State Top 10 Finishers

Keystone Heights (Class 1A): Jed Tisdale, 8th at 119 Olympics; Van Zant third at 139 Olympics, third Traditional; Trey Jeffries third at 219 Olympics, Champion at Traditional (645 total)
Fleming Island, Middleburg, Clay, Ridgeview, Orange Park (Class 2A): MHS Josh Senear second 169 Traditional; MHS Gage Isbell second Unlimited Traditional, third Unlimited Olympic; FIHS Tyler Beverly Champion 169 Olympics (490 total); FIHS Kevin Reyes Champion Unlimited Olympics (540 total).
Oakleaf (Class 3A); Noah Shevchook ninth 129 Traditional, ninth in Olympic; Christian Rodriguez seventh 139 Traditional, sixth Olympic.


Class 3A, District 3: Oakleaf at Flagler Palm Coast, Wed., March 27, 5 p.m. start
Class 2A, District 4: FIHS, OPHS, RHS at Yulee HS, Wed., March 27, 3:10 p.m. start
Class 2A, District 3: CHS, MHS at Baker County HS, Thurs., March 28, 3:30 p.m. start
Class 1A, District 7: Keystone Heights at Keystone Heights, Fri., March 29, 10 a.m. start


Region 1-3A at Navarre HS, Sat., April 6, 11 a.m. start
Region 1-2A at Choctawhatchee HS, Thurs., April 4, 11 a.m. start
Region 2-1A at Suwannee HS, Sat., April 6, 10 a.m.

State Championships

Friday-Saturday, April 19-20
RP Funding Center
Lakeland, FL