Gulf County weightlifters head to regionals

Although Blountstown won its first-ever district championship in girls weightlifting last Wednesday, Jan. 19, both Wewahitchka and Port St. Joe will be sending representatives to compete at the Class 1A regional tournament at Suwanee High School this Friday, Jan. 28. 

In order to proceed from districts to regionals, a competitor must finish in the top six of her weight class. At regionals, the first place finisher automatically qualifies for the state tournament, and 16 other at-large lifters are selected from the next top-five finishers at each regional meet. 

This year’s state championships for all classifications will be held at Port St. Joe High School Thursday to Saturday, Feb, 10-12, with the 1A lifters competing that Saturday. More details will be provided in upcoming issues. 

Wewa, who lifted its way to a first-place finish in snatch competition and runner-up in the traditional (bench and clean and jerk) hoists, earned the district runner-up trophy. 

“Mere words cannot express how incredibly proud I am of our Lady Gators weightlifting team,” said Coach David Peavy. “I’m even more proud (that) 17 of the 18 girls are going on to lift at regionals. 

“These girls have worked so hard,” said Peavy, “and this is just the beginning (because) with only one senior and two juniors on this team, the future is so bright. Our best is yet to come!” 

The Wewa girls who will be moving on to regional competition are (in alphabetical order): Ashlyn Ake, Zoey Ake, Kalyan Badillo, Sarah Bailey, Riley Book, Harley Boyatt, Hannah Causey, Kameron Easter, Kaylee Easter, Avery Forehand, Taniya Foster, McKenzie Hatcher, Ava Kelsoe, Katelyn Kemp, Hailey McDaniel, Bryanna Robison, and Angel Williams. 

Although Port St. Joe finished in sixth place overall, 13 Tiger Sharks qualified for the regional meet, including four seventh graders. They are, in alphabetical order: Emily Barwick, Chelsea Bishop, Madison Brannan, Madi Burkett, Kaily Dillenbeck, Anniston Gainer, Makayan Jones, Emma Leffew, Eileen Madrid, Sarah Metcalf, MIracle Smiley, Demee Stallworth, and Lily Wockenfuss. 

Metcalf, Smiley, and Wockenfuss each took first place at districts in the snatch competition in their respective weight classes. 

For those interested in attending Friday’s competition, Suwannee High School is located in Live Oak. Weigh-ins will begin at noon, with the first lifts set for 4 p.m.. Admission is $7 per session.

Meet the Editor

Wendy Weitzel, The Star’s digital editor, joined the news outlet in August 2021, as a reporter covering primarily Gulf County.

Prior to then, she interned for Oklahoma-based news wire service Gaylord News and for Oklahoma City-based online newspaper during her four years at the University of Oklahoma, from which she graduated in May with degrees in online journalism and political science.

While at OU, Weitzel was selected as Carnegie-Knight News21 Investigative Fellow among 30 top journalism students from around the country. She also was senior editor managing a 12-person newsroom in coordination with Oklahoma Watch, a non-profit news organization in eastern Oklahoma.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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