BY GENE NARDI
On Saturday, Jan. 21, Seminole Ridge High School hosted the regional girls weightlifting championship, and while many of the area’s weightlifters competed in the event, it was the Hawks that took home the regional title with 43 points.
A total of 16 schools participated. Lake Worth High School took the runner-up spot with 36 points. Wellington High School came in fourth. Palm Beach Central High School placed eighth. Other high schools attending were Royal Palm Beach, John I. Leonard, Jupiter, Boca Raton, Atlantic, West Boca, Forest Hill, Santaluces, William T. Dwyer, Palm Beach Lakes, Palm Beach Gardens and Olympic Heights.
The Hawks also recently won the district title as well. Seminole Ridge head coach Cayla Amatulli has molded the program into a local and state power in girls weightlifting. Head football and boys weightlifting coach James Parson also assisted in coordinating the event. The event contains two lifts in competition, the bench press and the clean and jerk. Lifters are divided by weight class, and successful lift weight is totaled out for a final score.
For Seminole Ridge, first place regional champions were 183-pound class Anabel Fernandez with a weight total of 350 pounds, and 199-pound class Maria Anselmo with a total weight of 315 pounds. Koi Jones placed fourth in the 199-pound class with 235 pounds total. Fernandez finished at the state tournament sixth overall and looks to contend for the title this year. Anselmo finished 16th overall at the state tournament but also looks to contend for a state title this season.
In the 101-pound class for the Hawks, Elena Dingle earned second place with 175 pounds total weight lifted, and Sydney Beadle lifted a total of 295 pounds in the unlimited weight class for a second-place finish. In the 110-pound class, Rebecca Roy took third with 105 pounds lifted. Amy Garro came in third in the 119-pound class with 145 pounds lifted. Allison Taylor also came in third in the 129-pound class with 135 pounds lifted.
For Wellington, LeeAnn Hewitt took first place in the unlimited class with a total of 480 pounds lifted. The senior is the defending unlimited state champion, and she looks to repeat as a two-time state title winner. The 169-pound class was well represented by the Wolverines. Lynn Gunnels earned first place with a total lift weight of 130 pounds, and Marley Cannon took fourth with a total weight of 125 pounds lifted.
Palm Beach Central’s Lauren Mills took second place in the 119-pound class with a lifted weight total of 145 pounds.
The first-place lifters will move on to compete at the state tournament Feb. 3 and 4 at Belleview High School near Ocala. Others can qualify as a wild card.
ABOVE: The 2017 Regional Champion Seminole Ridge High School Hawks.