A handful of locals turned in top-notch performances at the 2019 Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) boys weightlifting state championships, held last month in Panama City.
Standouts included Sunlake High School seniors Caleb Huff and Victor Velez, who each won a gold medal in Class 2A. Huff won in the 119-pound division and Velez won in the 129-pound division.
Huff registered a 255-pound bench press and a 225-pound clean-and-jerk for an aggregate total of 480 pounds, besting the second place finisher, Oakleaf’s Michael Williams (420 total).
The feat marked Huff’s second-straight weightlifting state title.
He finished first place last year in the 119-pound division, with a 230-pound bench and a 200-pound clean-and-jerk for a 430 total.
Huff also had a strong showing at the state meet as a sophomore two years ago, where he finished in sixth place in the same weight class.
Velez, meanwhile, posted a 260-pound bench and 250-pound clean-and-jerk for a 510 total. He bested Wiregrass Ranch High senior Alex Alvarez, who placed second with a 480 total on a 255-pound bench and a 205-pound clean-and-jerk.
Velez finished second at last year’s state meet in the 129-pound weight class, with a 450 total.
The lifts of Huff and Velez carried Sunlake to a fifth-place team finish, best among all local schools.
In the Class 1A meet, Zephyrhills High senior Ethan Vest placed second overall in the heavyweight division with a 425-pound bench and 335-pound clean-and-jerk for a 760 total. That was behind Union County’s Agelu Nunu, who set a state record with a 525-pound bench press, to go along with a 300-pound clean-and-jerk for an 825 total.
In the 139-pound division, Cypress Creek High senior Connor O’ Malley placed fifth with a 255-pound bench and 225-pound clean-and-jerk for a 465 total.
Several other local lifters competed in the state meet, but did not place among the top six across the various weight class divisions. Zephyrhills had the most state meet participants among local schools, with seven lifters.
State results from area weightlifters and teams
Sunlake — fifth place (14 points)
Wiregrass Ranch—tied 13th place (5)
Land O’ Lakes — no placing (0)
119 pounds: Caleb Huff, senior, Sunlake: first place; 255-225—480
129 pounds: Victor Velez, senior, Sunlake: first place; 260-250—510; Alex Alvarez, senior, Wiregrass Ranch: first place; 275-205—480
Zephyrhills— tied 13th place (5 points)
Cypress Creek— tied 26th (2)
139 pounds: Connor O’ Malley, senior, Cypress Creek: fifth place; 255-210–465
Heavyweight: Ethan Vest, senior, Zephyrhills: second place; 425-335—760
Other area lifters who participated in the state meet
139 pounds: Alex Hall, senior, Sunlake (255-200—455)
169 pounds: Kevin Sacco, senior, Land O’ Lakes (scratch)
119 pounds: Garrett Ellison, senior, Zephyrhills (165-0—165)
129 pounds: Justin Clark, junior, Zephyrhills (195-205—400)
154 pounds: Dylan Hitchner, senior, Zephyrhills (255-230 — 485)
199 pounds: Samuel Bergeron, senior, Zephyrhills (scratch)
219 pounds: Caleb Keeling, senior, Zephyrhills (320-0—320)
238 pounds: Cameron Helms, senior, Zephyrhills (350-255—605)
Published May 01, 2019
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