Wewa lifters outmuscle district opponents

The Wewahitchka varsity boys weightlifting team showed what
they were made of last week, with a resounding win in the Class 1A District 3

The Gator boys tallied 64 points, easily outdistancing runner-up
Rutherford with 45, and third place Bay with 44. Port St. Joe tallied 38
points, North Bay Haven 21 and Franklin County 8 to round out the field.

“We had a good day,” said coach Bobby Johns. “We had some kids
that had their best day of the year, which is what you hope for. You’re hoping
to where they’re having their best days.”

The boys now head to the regionals at Baker this Saturday. April
10, and Johns is expecting a close finish. “We’re hoping to win, it’s going to
between us and Baker the whole way,” he said.

The Gators had four weightlifters take first place medals in
their individual classes, senior Keegan Calhoun in the 129, junior Treston
Smith in the 154, junior Alex Williams in the 199 and senior Christian Mann in
the 238.

In the 119-pound class, Wewa had two eighth graders Jake
Parker and Gabe Miller finish in third and fourth place, with 250-pound and 230-pound
lifts, respectively.

“They’ve come a long way from where we started,” Johns said.
“Gabe has worked really hard to get his total up there, and with Jake it’s a
little more natural. They work together all the time and it’s great to have
eight graders to score points.

Rutherford’s Eric Olds won the class with a 320 lift, ahead
of Bay’s Jaykwon Conerly, with a 285. Port St. Joe’s Costin Marshall was fifth
with a 225, just ahead of Bay’s Bryant Wilson. Port St. Joe’s Easton Herring
was seventh with a 175 and North Bay haven’s Ben Leach was eight with a 150.

In the 129 class, Calhoun lifted a 420, his season’s best
but below what Johns says he is capable of. “It’s a very unusual situation,” he
said. “He broke both bones in his arms during the Sneads game, and had to have
major surgery. He still has plates in both bones, and he didn’t lift for 14
weeks. He’s just now getting back close to where he was.”

Rutherford’s Colin Dutton was second with a 355 and Wewa  eighth-grader Corbin Hysmith was third with a
295, just ahead of Franklin County’s Bentley Braswell who lifted 290. Jacob
Marshall from Port St. Joe lifted 275 for fifth, with Rutherford’s Elijah
Stillgess was sixth with 265. And Port St. Joe’s Aydan Davis seventh with a 240.
Bay’s Jacob McCroan, with 240, and Jose Lopez, with 235, rounded out the field.

In the 139 class, Rutherford’s Romero Black won districts
with a 405 lift, ahead of Bay’s Joshua Baxley, with 375, and Jayshawn Conerly,
with a 365. Franklin County’s Weston Bockelman was fourth with a 320, just
ahead of teammate Gideon Dively with 315. Port St. Joe’s Andrew Sheppard was
sixth with 300. Wewa eighth-grader Colton Johnson was just out of the top six
qualifiers when he missed his last lift and had to settle for 290. Rutherford’s
Keandre Williams with 285, and North Bay Haven’s Evan Pickford, with 250,
rounded out the field.

In the 154 pound class, Wewa’s Smith won with a 525, but
still 50 pounds short of his season best. Johns said the idea was to ease up,
knowing Smith would be a likely winner. “We took some unusual jumps because he
won the class so easily,” said the coach. “We weren’t worried about our total;
he’ll do it differently this week.

Rutherford’s Paul Hunter was runner-up with 400 pounds,
ahead of Bay’s Kenneth Hutcherson with 380, Rutherford’s Brayun Richardson with
375, and Bay’s Byre’un Foster with 375. Port St. Joe’s Nick Jefferson was sixth
with a 370, ahead of North Bay Haven’s Declan Houchins with 370.

Wewa freshman Caleb Carter was eighth with a 345, ahead of
Port St. Joe’s Gavin Lee with 330, and Franklin County’s Luis Ramirez with a 290.

Port St. Joe’s Tad Russell topped the 160-pound class with a
490, 20 pounds ahead of Wewa junior Tremaine Booker. “He took two shots to win and
missed it both times,” said Johns. “It was really close. He missed those lifts but
it will be a big thing this week to try to catch them.”

Port St. Joe’s Chase Lanford was third with a 430, followed
by Bay’s Jabari Reed with a 420, just edging out Wewa junior Landon Hysmith,
who lifted a similar weight. Rutherford’s Keaton Sirmer was sixth with a 415,
ahead of Bay’s Javonte Davis with a 370, and Franklin County’s Cooper Bowden with
a 330. North Bay Haven’s Jacob Bousa was ninth with a 320, ahead of Franklin
County’s Estaban Bernabe with a 285.

In the 183 class, North Bay Haven’s Desmond Peterson won
with a 535, just ahead of the 530 posted by Bay’s Caleb Pippin. Wewa sophomore Joey
Salerno ran third with a 515. Johns said his totals are sixth in the region, so
he’ll have to lift week this weekend to advance.

Rutherford’s Bryson Schirmer was fourth with a 485, ahead of
Bay’s Cason Forehand with a 435, and Port St. Joe’s Colin Amison with a 410.
Rutherford’s Chad Allgood, with a 405, and North Bay Haven’s Cole Haddock with
370 rounded out the field.

In the 199-weight class, Wewa’s Williams took five lifts to
tally 615, 20 pounds lower than his season best, but still a runaway winner. “We
expect him to be closer this week,” Johns said. “We’ll face stiff competition against
a guy from Madison.”

Williams told WMBB that “When we first started, nobody
really wanted to come up here. It was just like ‘Hey they’re having a
weightlifting meet,’” he said. “But we’re all competitive ever since Coach
Johns came up here. He told us “Compete, compete, compete,” that’s all he tells
us to do, and he’s just changed this program into what it is today.

“A team victory just shows how much love we have for each
other, we are a family, and how much this program has built up from where it
was,” Williams said.

Port St. Joe’s Aiden Gainer ran second in 199, with a 565
lift, edging out Bay’s Charles Campbell with 560, and Wewa junior Braxton
Durden with a 510. Rutherford’s Chance Locklear was fifth and Jacari Brown
sixth, with a 475 and 410 respectively. Port St. Joe’s Daniel Alaniz lifted 285
for seventh.

In the 219-weight class, Rutherford’s Casey Boyd lifted 590
for the win, edging out Port St. Joe’s Saylor Tull who had a similar total.
North Bay Haven’s Nate Webb, with 525, and Rutherford’s Marco Meija with 510,
ran third and fourth, just ahead of Wewa junior Caden Wooten with 490, and freshman
Preston Stacy with 465.

Bay’s Jy’Qwuan Pennywell was seventh with a 400, ahead of
North Bay Haven’s Robideau with a 350, and Port St. Joe’s Justin Peacock.

In the 238-pound class, Wewa’s Mann had a 630 to win it, a
season best. Johns said he’ll have to up that some pounds to take top honors at

Bay’s Kenneth McManigal was second with a 625, while Port
St. Joe’s D.J. Oliver was third with a 590. Wewa junior Matthew Nunnery was fourth
with a 475, and Port St. Joe’s Andrew Fountain fifth with a 395, with
Rutherford’s Reis Hutchinson and JJ Robideau rounding out the field with 375-pound

In the unlimited class, North Bay Haven’s Randall Smith won
with 580, edging out Wewa junior Briceson Davis by five pounds. “We think he
can beat that guy this week,” Johns said. “But he’ll need 600 pounds to get through

Bay’s Jordan Sikes was third with 550, and Port St. Joe’s Jay Stuckey fourth with a 540. North Bay Haven’s
Ian Murrell was fifth with a 530, ahead of Port St. Joe’s Kobe Flowers with a 480,
and Bay’s Keilon Hayes with a 480.

Wewa freshman Noah Taunton was eighth with a 425, ahead of
Rutherford’s Bryce Gowens, with a 425.

Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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