Weightlifters from Port St. Joe High School. left, and from Wewahitchka High School, right, at the state tournament [ PSJHS and WHS athletic departments ]
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Gulf County weightlifters earn medals at state tournament

Lifting their way to seven medals at this weekend’s FHSAA 1A boys weightlifting tournament, Wewahitchka captured 4th place in Olympic competition and tied with Port St. Joe and four other schools for 9th place in Traditional. 

Suwannee took first place in Olympic, and finished second to Keystone Heights in Traditional. 

“We had a good, solid day,” said Gator head coach Bobby Johns. “We knew 4th was where we should end up in Olympic. We could have scored a few more points, but that’s about where we expected.” 

“That’s about all you can ask for,” he continued. “We’ll take 4th out of all the teams that were there.” 

There were a total of 104 1A schools at the tournament, and “the three schools above us have about 1,000 kids compared to our 200,” Johns said. 

The three schools Johns referred to are Suwannee, South Sumter, and Keystone Heights. “It shows where our program has come to when you might be disappointed in 4th place,” he said. 

Here is a list of Gator lifters who finished in the top 10 in Olympic competition: Note that athletes who finish in 6th place or better earn medals. 

119: Cole Williams, 2nd place with 325 lbs; Landon Webb, 6th place with 285 lbs 154: Bryson Greene, 4th place with 430 lbs; Corbin Hysmith, 7th place with 415 lbs 183: Joey Salerno, 5th place with 470 lbs 

238: Preston Stacey, 2nd place with 535 lbs 

In Traditional competition: 

119: Williams, 6th place with 360 lbs; Webb, 10th place with 335 lbs 

183: Salerno, 6th place with 555 lbs 

238: Stacey, 2nd place with 655 lbs 

Johns noted that Preston Stacey, a junior, set personal records (PR’s) in both lifting categories during the day’s competition. 

Four of the five Port St. Joe lifters finished the day standing on the podium with medals, three in Traditional and one in Olympic.

In Traditional, Devin Cuttino took 6th place with 500 lbs in his 154 lb class; Tad Russell captured 4th with 545 in the 169 lb class; and PJ Jones won 4th with 585 lbs at 183 lbs. 

Saylor Tull was the only Shark to finish in the top 10 in Olympic, winning 4th place with 540 lbs in the Unlimited category. 

“I was impressed with a couple of their performances,” said St. Joe coach Tanner Jones. “Devin was projected for 11th, but he had a great day.” 

“Tad Russell scratched on his first two clean and jerk tries, but came back to take 4th place on his third lift.” 

“Chase Lanford may have been the most impressive,” Jones said, “because he should have been in the 183 lb class but he went up to 199, hitting 300 on the bench and just missed 315,” and finished just shy of the top 10. 

“It’s impressive to see what the kids will fight for, and our guys bench really well,” Jones said as he gave credit to assistant coach Corey Silcox. 

Tull, who competed only in the Olympic round, “went up against two 300+ lb guys, and competed well against them to take 4th place,” Jones added. 

Both Johns and Jones will be able to rest for a short while now that the finals are in the books, although Jones said that he only has a week before the start of Spring Football on April 24.

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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