PUNTA GORDA — All season the Lemon Bay’s boys weightlifting team has been nipping at the heels of county rival Charlotte, and at Wednesday’s Charlotte County meet at Charlotte High School, the Manta Rays were looking to finally overtake them.
But once again, the Tarpons were just a little better, especially in the upper weight classes, and able to edge the Manta Rays by just two points. An undermanned Port Charlotte team got great bang for its buck to take third.
Charlotte also had four county winners, with Kaden Howell (119), Shek Ayemperoumal (183), Devin Markstahler (219) and Jack Fining (238).
Ayemperoumal’s victory proved the difference over Lemon Bay’s Ron Feril. Both were tied after the bench, but Ayemperoumal overtook him in the clean and jerk with a 255-pound lift for the five points, a four-point swing that made all the difference.
“We’ve been battling Lemon Bay all year. They’re a great team and we’ve seen them four times now,” Charlotte coach Ray Hixson said. “I knew it was going to be tight. We had to make our lifts and the kids came through. Hopefully, we’ll get stronger in the next week and get ready for districts.”
Added Markstahler: “Everyone did what they had to do. I have to get my clean and my bench up. And I should be on top again. Lemon Bay just keeps us working hard.”
Lemon Bay did well in the lower weight classes, winning four championships with Kyle Craft (129), Logan Lydic (139), Jacob Davis (154), and Treston Kopp (169).
Coach Don Southwell said his team, though smaller in stature, once again made the school proud.
“Our kids handled their business on the platform and that’s all you can ask for,” Southwell said. “We did really well in the middle and lower classes. That’s our strength. Our bigger kids are just young, so their time will come.”
Added Lydic: “Every day I think about what I’m going to do at the meets. If I keep it in my head that I can do it, it’s a mental thing. I want to keep gaining as we get to districts.”
Port Charlotte brought just seven lifters and finished a distant third with 18 points, but Jarret Debus got the most out of his roster with two champions, Sabian Levasseur (199) and his heavyweight Devin Leacock, whose meet high total of 690 pounds is still 100 pounds below what he did last week, which made for nothing more than a workout for him.
“We’re a young team and we’re doing a nice job considering we don’t have the numbers,” Debus said.
COUNTY WEIGHTLIFTING MEET
at Charlotte High
Charlotte 45, Lemon Bay 43, Port Charlotte 18
119: 1. Kaden Howell (CHS) 180-150-330, 2. Caleb Cooper (LB) 165-135-300; 129: 1. Kyle Craft (LB) 165-150-315, 2. Tristen Jean-Pierre (PC) 165-145-310, 3. Gio Centanne (CHS) 150-150-300; 139: 1. Logan Lydic (LB) 235-195-430, 2. Patrick Joseph (CHS) 205-190-395, 3. Gage Strelue (CHS) 200-190-390; 154: 1. Jacob Davis (LB) 230-220-450; 2. Jahden Joseph (CHS) 210-205-415, 3. Brandon Manomat (CHS) 200-200-400; 169: 1. Treston Kopp (LB) 280-220-500, 2. Hunter Weir (LB) 230-235-465, 3. Jaden Hunter (PC) 240-225-465;
183: 1. Shek Ayemperoumal (CHS) 305-255-560, 2. Ron Feril (LB) 305-235-550, 3. Keegan Marinola (LB) 255-275-530; 199: 1. Sabian Levasseur (PC) 345-270-615, 2. Brandon Curry (LB) 290-260-550, 3. G’Vonte Price (CHS) 275-260-535; 219: 1. Devin Markstahler (CHS) 330-260-590, 2. Tommy Zozus (CHS) 280-270-550, 3. Rob Cerami (LB) 265-280-545; 238: 1. Jack Fining (CHS) 335-285-620, 2. Alex Villareal (CHS) 260-240-500, 3. Brent Hillebrand (LB) 200-165-365; Hvw: 1. Devin Leacock (PC) 375-315-690, 2. Juidson Jeanty (PC) 330-285-615; 3. Daniel Frederique (PC) 330-270-600.