Panthers roar to second in the region

By Randy Lefko randy@opcfla.com
Posted 4/14/21

LIVE OAK - Buoyed by region titles to Chris Baptiste, A.J. Beaufort and Prince Savea, the Ridgeview High boys weightlifting team gave region 1-2A a shot in the arm with a possible new face on top of …

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Panthers roar to second in the region

Posted

LIVE OAK - Buoyed by region titles to Chris Baptiste, A.J. Beaufort and Prince Savea, the Ridgeview High boys weightlifting team gave region 1-2A a shot in the arm with a possible new face on top of the heap with a strong second place team finish to perennial powerhouse Pace High School. Beaufort is ranked number one in state by 40 pounds in Class 2A while Baptiste is ranked fourth heading into the state championships.

“A couple of unlucky breaks as far as guys who missed lifts and some outstanding performances by our opponents were the differences,” said Ridgeview coach Matt Knauss, who is poised to have his Panthers vye for state titles and a team championship in Class 2A where county rival Clay High, fourth in region 2-2A, will bring their own region champion, Isaiah Jones at 129. “He’s the talk of the town and for good reason. Chris (Baptiste) will try to give him a run.”

Beaufort, at 153 pounds with a 570 total, was second best pound-for-pound lifter behind Arnold High’s Myles Higby, a 137 pounder with a 545 total.

Pace scored the region team title with 39 points with Ridgeview second at 32 and host Suwannee High third at 29. Middleburg had nine points for 10th.

For Middleburg, senior Stone Newsome tied with Suwannee’s Jaquez Moore in 183 with Moore slightly lighter in body weight getting the win. Moore weighed in at 178.70 with Newsome at 178.60. Newsome is ranked second in Class 2A with Moore the top-ranked in 183.

The Broncos also got a third from Jonathan Floyd at 169.

For Orange Park, Jose Penagos finished fourth at 119 with a 345 total with Cam Griffieth (5th at 129), Josh Lava (7th at 154) all finishing in the top 10 and awaiting region results for state invites.

At 129, Baptiste had top bench press at 215 to gain an early lead, then held the lead with a 185 clean and jerk that was third best in the weight class. Saul Vega of Arnold had a 215 clean and jerk, but 175 at bench press. Suwannee’s Xander Kirkland chased Baptiste wth a 190 bench and 205 clean and jerk to finish at 395; just five pounds away. Griffith was at 380 with a 200 bench press.

“That will make that weight class interesting behind the Jones kid at Clay who won at 450,” said Knauss.

Beaufort was dominant at 570 in 154 with two lifters 50 pounds pack. Beaufort blasted the field with a 315 bench press with only Seth O’Gara of Pace able to keep up at 305, but Beaufort was able to clean and jerk 255 for the win. O’Gara was at 215 for clean and jerk.

“He’s at the top of his game and very confident,” said Knauss. “He hit 315 clean and jerk at the Clay County championships.”

Savea won with a 625 total by 15 pounds over Suwannee’s Brian Robinson. Savea is ranked fourth in 238.

Also in the top 10, Ridgeview had Aiden Tavenner (9th at 129), Juan Pereira (6th at 139), Jervae Wilson (7th at 169), Colby Bridgees (7th at 183), Joe Reed (3rd at 199), Collier Stephens (3rd at 219) and Miika Tuisano (5th at 219).

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