By Jordan Kroeger, SunCoast Sports
PUNTA GORDA — As usual, the first meet of the season was held at Charlotte High School for all four area teams.
Charlotte, Lemon Bay, North Port and Port Charlotte all competed at the Tarpon Invite Tuesday afternoon, yet none of them took home first place at the 11-team event.
Or even second place for that matter.
The first-place trophy went to LaBelle with 34 points while second-place went to Sarasota, which finished with 32. Charlotte and Lemon Bay finished in a three-way tie with Manatee for third at 27 points.
North Port was sixth with 23 points while Port Charlotte was close behind with 21.
“It was a great meet. We had 11 schools and a lot of good area schools,” Charlotte coach Ray Hixson said. “We tied for third and we’ve got to work harder and get better. And the kids know that so we’ll see how it goes and we’ll keep working.”
No Tarpon won a weight class but three of them finished in second: Kaden Howell (119), Shek Ayemperoumal (183) and Devin Markstahler (199). Howell lifted a total of 325 pounds (175 bench, 150 clean-and-jerk), Ayemperoumal put up 525 (290 bench, 235 clean-and-jerk) and Markstahler finished with a 555 total (315 bench, 240 clean-and-jerk).
“Those kids did great. We’ve just got to keep working,” Hixson said.
Lemon Bay hung with Charlotte and Manatee on the strength of wins by Logan Lydic (139) and Ron Feril (183). Lydic benched 235 pounds and nailed a clean-and-jerk of 215 for a 450 total while Feril lifted a total of 540 (305 bench, 235 clean-and-jerk).
The Manta Rays were one of only two Class 1A schools in attendance, with the other being champion LaBelle. The Cowboys also happen to be in the Manta Rays’ district, which showed coach Don Southwell how much work his team still needs to put in for the rest of the season.
“It’s bittersweet,” said Southwell of his team’s performance. “These are all much bigger schools here so to come out third against some quality programs is good. But the point spread between us and first was seven, and I know that we have enough on our team that we should’ve been leaving here with a first-place trophy, so that part is kind of like a knife in your gut.
“But it’ll be easier to convince them of what we’ve got to do from here on out so at districts (LaBelle) doesn’t take our trophy home.”
Alex Jen was the only North Port lifter to win his weight class, finishing with a total of 430 pounds (230 bench, 200 clean-and-jerk) in the 129 class.
Devin Leacock (unlimited) and Sabian Levasseur (199) were the top lifters for Port Charlotte, taking first-place in their respective weight classes.
Leacock lifted the most weight at the meet meet, benching 405 pounds with a 360 clean-and-jerk for whopping total of 765. No other lifter even broke 700 pounds.
Levasseur benched 340 and had a clean-and-jerk of 265 for a 605 total for the Pirates.
at Charlotte High School
1. LaBelle 34; 2. Sarasota 32; 3. Charlotte, Lemon Bay, Manatee 27; 6. North Port 23; 7. Port Charlotte 21; 8. Riverview 18; 9. Cape Coral 11. 10. East Lee, South Fort Myers 0.
119: 1. Santiago Morales (LBL) 200-200-400, 2. Kaden Howell (CHS) 175-150-325, 3. Justin Toomin (RHS) 150-125-275; 129: 1. Alex Jen ( NP) 230-200-430; 2. Michael Rozmus (SHS) 200-210-410, 3. Ryran Bryant (SHS) 215-175-390; 139: 1. Logan Lydic (LB) 235-215-450, 2. Dylan Uemheuer (SHS) 240-200-440, 3. Cameron Kiernan (MHS) 200-200-400; 154: 1. Edward Brown (LBL) 250-215-465, 2. Josue Gonzalez (LBL) 215-245-460, 3. Greg Pardue (NP) 225-225-450; 169: 1. Jernard Porter (MHS) 270-235-510, 2. Matthew Montanez (NP) 245-245-590, 3. Sebastian Gutierrez (SHS) 255-215-470; 183: 1. Ron Feril (LB) 305-235-540, 2. Shek Ayemperoumal (CHS) 290-235-525, 3. Keegan Marinola (LB) 255-265-520; 199: 1. Sabian Levasseur (PC) 340-265-605, 2. Brian Abbott (SHS) 315-215-530, 3. Brayden Curry (LB) 275-245-520; 219: 1. Kyle Todd (CC) 280-280-560, 2. Devin Markstahler (CHS) 315-240-555, 3. Angel Gutierrez (LBL) 275-245-520; 238: 1. Seth Walter (MHS) 280-325-605, 2. Kyle Powers (RHS) 315-290-605, 3. Jack Fining (CHS) 325-275-600; UNL: 1. Devin Leacock (PC) 405-360-765, 2. Moose Griffith (RHS) 375-295-670, 3. Luieson Jeanty (PC) 320-280-600.