LIVE OAK - Fresh off a week of Spring Break rest, Clay County high school weightlifters will descend upon Keystone Heights High School to determine the best lifting squad at the Clay County High …
LIVE OAK - Fresh off a week of Spring Break rest, Clay County high school weightlifters will descend upon Keystone Heights High School to determine the best lifting squad at the Clay County High School Weightlifting Championships staged Tues., March 23.
Keystone Heights, fresh off a team win; a tie with 2A-Pace High, at the Suwannee High Bulldog Invitational, will be hosting the county’s strongboys with an intent to take a second team title for 2021. Ridgeview, with two individual champions was furth behind Suwannee by one point. Oakleaf was ninth in the 10 team field with Paul McGee top finisher; second at 129.
“It’s the first time here and it kind of makes it a big deal for the school, but in the big picture, with districts next week, it may not be as exciting as you might think,” said Keystone Heights High coach Lantz Lowery. “We have a bunch of boys dinged up; one of our best guys with a rodeo accident, Geez, so our lineup is going to be hurting.”
Lowery saw his Indians place just one guy on the first place podium, 139 Ulysses Freed, but, more point total wise, had 14 guys in the top 10 finishers with seconds to Mason Dicks at 285, Wyatt Van Zant at 119 and Kade Sanders at 169.
“Lots of guys means lots of points if they lift what they are capable of,” said Lowery.
Lowery’s laments, though, somewhat suspicious to an insider knowing his mental preparations for football and weightlifting competition, only bode for what could be a classic force of wills with Ridgeview, under coach Matt Knauss, coming is with two Suwannee tournament champions; A.J.Beaufort (Also best lower weight lifter) and Joe Reed, and Clay and Fleming Island bringing traditionally strong power. Beaufort won handily by 75 pounds while Reed won by just 10 pounds at 199.
“On paper, we could be the best team Ridgeview has ever fielded,” said Knauss. “I thought we had a shot at a state title run last year until the COVID ended the season. These guys are primed to go.”
Orange Park coach Tom Macpherson has had the longest list of recent state champion lifters and has a handful of power coming that could upset the proverbial apple cart. Orange Park had a recent dual meet with Clay and both teams saw impressive totals. Clay’s Isaiah Jones is prime candidate for a state title run.
Middleburg is primed to be an upset call with new football coach Ryan Wolfe showing out some pics of nearly 30-40 guys attending lift sessions in preseason preparations.