It was a clean sweep for the St. Cloud girls weightlifting team as they won the 2022 Orange Belt Conference team titles in both the traditional clean-and-jerk/bench press competition and the new snatch competition on Friday night at Harmony High School.
In the traditional event, the Lady Bulldogs posted three champions and seven runner-up finishes, scoring 79 team points to easily out-distance second-place Celebration (45). Osceola and Harmony tied for third with 28 points. St. Cloud had five champions to post 74 points and win the snatch competition over Celebration (43). Harmony and Osceola tied for third in that event too, with 38 points.
Eventually, it is believed the FHSAA will eliminate the bench portion of the completion and replace it with the snatch, which will put the sport in-line with Olympic and other weight lifting competitions, but for this year it will be a separate event in-state competition.
In rolling to their 11th consecutive title, St. Cloud got championship wins from Abby Davis at the 110-weight class, Kaitlyn Gallagher (119), and Kiley Holland (154). In addition, the Lady Bulldogs got second-place finishes from Aija Diaz (101), Ashley Aun (110), Layla Lara (119), Javani Roberson (129), Nyla Roberson (139), Chelsea Taylor (169), and Sara Weiss (199). Holland hit her last attempt in the clean-and-jerk for a 140-145-285 total to edge Harmony’s Avery Heap (140-140-280). Overall, St. Cloud had 17 of its 20 lifters score points in the meet.
“Going in, I thought we had a real good shot to get five champions, but we only got three, and one of those was a bit of a surprise as Kiley came through to win at 154,” St. Cloud coach Cory Aun said. “Without question, it was our overall depth that led the way to this win.”
Upstart Celebration continues to show improvement in its program, with a second consecutive second-place finish. Traditionally, its program has been a non-factor in OBC competition, finishing a distant fourth with 19 points just two years ago.
The Storm champions included Alessandra Diaz (101), Helena Huyke (129), and Indiana Ramos (199). Celebration got team points from both its lifters in five of the 10 weight classes. ”We’ve come a long way in the last couple of years,” Storm coach Cliff Branch said. “It’s all due to the dedication and hard work this team puts in every day.”
The most dominating performance of the meet came from Harmony’s Adriana Rosa, who won the 139-lb. weight class with a lift of 145-190-335. That total not only won her weight class by 45 pounds but also would have won the next five higher weight classes. It is also 30 pounds heavier than her 315-lb. finish last year at states, which was good for second place.
Osceola had two champions in back-to-back weight classes as Katlin Walters won at 169 and Alyhia Williams took the 185-lb. class. Jamalise Rivas of Poinciana was the champion in the unlimited weight class.
Davis, Huyke, Rosa, and Walters were all repeat OBC champions.
In the snatch competition that was contested first, St. Cloud posted champions in five of the 10 weight classes with wins by Davis (110), Gallagher (119), Jailiz Cordona (129), Chelsea Taylor (169), and Morgan Van Auken (199).
Celebration had a pair of champions in Diaz (101) and Fabianna Millian (154). Williams won at 183 for Osceola and Chloe Porter won the only championship of the night for Tohopekaliga, taking the unlimited division. Rosa completed a double win for Harmony by taking the 139 class and also dominated that event with a lift of 145-lbs. – the best of any lifter regardless of weight class.
District competition begins next Saturday. Harmony will host the 3A, District 9 meet that includes St. Cloud and Tohopekaliga. Celebration and Poinciana will participate in the Class 3A, District 10 meet at Winter Haven High.
“We fully expect to advance most of our lifters to regionals,” Aun said. “Several of our lifters are planning on moving down a weight class to create their best chances to advance, so we may not have as many top-three finishes as we did this week.” The top six finishers in the district competition advance to regionals the following week.