By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
PUNTA GORDA — Making it to the state championships in any sport at any level is a great accomplishment.
But for most, just getting to the promised land isn’t enough. They need to win the whole thing.
Charlotte High School’s Breanna Jacobs (129), Natalie Jen (110) and Britney Augustin (139) all booked their ticket to the state championships Wednesday afternoon by winning an individual title in the Class 2A-8 regionals.
Now, is where the hard work begins for them.
“It’s kind of stressful, but at the same time, it’s kind of exciting to know that I’ve got a chance at getting a medal.” Jen said of knowing she has a guaranteed spot at the state meet.
Jen, Jacobs and Augustin all helped the Tarpons to 69 points and a third straight team championship. Sunlake was second with 38 and Venice third at 24.
First-place winners have automatic bids to the state meet, with the remaining competitors thrown in a pool with the top 12 from each weight class combined advancing. Charlotte had a large group on that waiting bubble, and won’t likely know until Monday whether or not they’re advancing.
For the three winners, Jacobs captured her third straight individual title at regionals. The defending state champion was in first place after the bench press round with 170 pounds, and kept her lead in the clean and jerk with a 175. Her total of 365 pounds was 20 pounds better than runner-up and teammate Sylvia Gardien, who took home a silver medal.
“It’s just so great to see everything come together,” Coach Angie Nolan said. “They’ve been very patient and chomping at the bit saying ‘no. I want to go higher. I want to go higher.’ Today is about getting to the next level and getting to the state meet. That’s what they’ve been working for since a year ago.”
Jen finished in third place at the regional meet a year ago, but grabbed the gold this time as a sophomore. She trailed teammate Jena Trainor by five pounds after the opening round, totaling 125, but a 135-pound clean and jerk was good enough to leap over Trainor, totaling 260 pounds. Trainor was second with 255.
“That girl has so much potential, and she’s just the neatest kid,” Nolan said of Jen. “I don’t think she realized she had this athletic ability until last year, and then all of the sudden it’s there and everything comes together.
“Let me tell you something about that little girl: She’s a competitor and she hates to lose!”
Augustin followed up her district championship with more hardware. She totaled 315 pounds on the day with 150 on the bench press and another 165 on the clean and jerk.
In addition to Trainor and Gardien, Mahra Moss (199) was the third Tarpon to take a silver medal. All three of them likely have no worries in advancing to states.
However, 10 others from Charlotte made the medal stand with hopes to reach states. Tiffany Dodson (UNL) Erika Lane (199), Shelby Beisner (154) Mdison Hankison (101) all finished third.
Emily Vaughn (169) and Krisilda Bejte (101) both came in fourth place. Katie Palach (119, fifth), Skylar Gribben (169, sixth), Catherine Dominguez (183, sixth) and Britney Williams (UNL, fifth) were all medal winners.
For North Port’s handful of competitors, Armani Seale (154) and Kaitlin Lacey (101) both finished in the sixth place with outside shots of advancing to states.
1. Charlotte 64, 2. Sunlake 38, 3. Venice 24, t4. Manatee 16, t4. Palmetto 16.
101: 1. Shelby Lewis (S) 115-125-240, 3. Madison Hankinson (CHS) 100-105-205, 4. Brisilda Bejte (CHS) 95-110-205, 6. Kaitlin Lacey (NP) 90-110-200; 110: 1. Natalie Jen (CHS) 125-135-260, 2. Jena Trainor (CHS) 130-125-255; 1. Natalie Deto (V) 140-150-290, 5. Kalie Opalach (CHS) 115-110-225; 129: 1. Breanna Jacobs 190-175-365, 2. Sylvia Gardian (CHS) 170-175-345; 139: 1. Britney Augustin (CHS) 150-165-315
154: 1. Katelyn Brunson (FM) 125-180-295, 3. Shelby Beisner 140-155-295, 6. Armani Seale (NP) 115-145-260; 169: 1. Alysa Kremer (LOL) 160-140-300, 4. Emily Vaughn (CHS) 125-160-285, 6. Skylar Gribben (CHS) 120-150-270; 183: 1. Hailey Parks (S) 160-180-340, 6. Catherine Dominguez (CHS) 140-125-265; 199: 1. Sierra Rawley (BR) 145-190-335, 2. Mahra Moss (CHS) 155-160-315, 3. Erika Lane (CHS) 125-130-255, UNL: 1. Sh’ala McMillan (P) 190-250-440, 3. Tiffany Dodson (CHS) 190-185-375, 5. Britney Williams (CHS) 205-135-340.