By Jordan Kroeger, SunCoast Sports
ENGLEWOOD — This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Lemon Bay weightlifting team, but it proved otherwise Friday evening at the District 1A-15 meet.
Led by four first-place finishers, the Manta Rays rolled to their third straight district title and their fourth in the last five years in their own gym. Despite one lifter missing the meet and another missing weight, Lemon Bay still finished with 78 points to finish a dozen up on LaBelle.
The Manta Rays qualified 17 of their 19 lifters in attendance to the Region 1A-8 meet on March 25, which also will be held at Lemon Bay.
“We have kids that work hard. The pieces to the puzzle fit,” Lemon Bay coach Don Southwell said of his team’s success this season. “They key was to get this thing moving in the right direction early on and we did.”
Logan Lydic (139), Treston Kopp (169), Ron Feril (183) and Brayden Curry (199) all lived up to Southwell’s expectations, winning gold medals in each of their respective weight classes.
Lemon Bay dominated the 169- and 183-pound weight classes. Kopp posted a 500 total at 169 and teammate Hunter Weir finished runner-up with a combination of 465. Feril blew away the competition with a 560 total for first at 183 with teammate Keegan Marinola posting 505 for second.
Lydic easily won his weight class by 30 pounds, finishing with a 430 total. Curry had the closest finish of all of Lemon Bay’s winners, edging LaBelle’s Jhonathan Morales by 10 pounds with a total lift of 550 thanks to a 40-pound difference on their bench presses.
But Southwell pointed to his two lifters in the heavyweight class as a big reason his team took home another title. Wyatt Soucy lifted 485 pounds to finish second and Justin Hinck lifted 455 to finish fourth.
Soucy and Hinck didn’t steal the spotlight, but they were integral in Lemon Bay’s victory.
“Our heavyweights ended up second and fourth. I wasn’t really expecting that. I was expecting one point out of those guys and we got eight,” Southwell said. “And then our studs that should’ve gotten first did so our depth is really what put us over the top.”
Lemon Bay won the Region 1A-8 title a year ago, something Southwell says is very possible again in 2017 with a group that’s proven itself immensely over the course of the season.
“They’ll have a good chance at a regional title. A lot depends on what the mix is from the other side of the region. It’ll be another close one,” he said.
DISTRICT 1A-15 CHAMPIONSHIP
at Lemon Bay
1. Lemon Bay 78, 2. LaBelle 66, 3. Bayshore 23. T-4. DeSoto County 14. T-14 Southeast 14. T-6. Booker 7. T-6. Cardinal Mooney 7.
119: 1. Santiago Morales (LAB) 195-215-410, 2. Caleb Cooper (LB) 165-135-300, 3. Uriel Sanchez (BAY) 145-130-275; 129: 129: Noey Espinoza (LAB) 195-205-400, 2. Jose Trejo (LAB) 190-170-360, 3. Kyle Kraft (LB) 165-150-315; 139: 1. Logan Lydic (LB) 225-205-430, 2. Felix Flores (LAB) 195-205-400, 3. Garret Hight (SE) 155-135-290; 154: 1. Josue Gonzalez (LAB) 210-255-465, 2. Edward Brown (LAB) 245-220-465, 3. Jacob Davis (LB) 235-210-445; 169: 1.Treston Kopp (LB) 280-220-500, 2. Hunter Weir 225-240-465, 3. Roberto Garza (LAB) 235-215-450; 183: 1. Ron Feril (LB) 315-245-560, 2. Keegan Marinola (LB) 250-255-505, 3. Zach Roberts (SE) 245-245-490; 199: 1. Brayden Curry (LB) 290-260-550, 2. Jhonathan Morales (LAB) 320-220-540, 3. Kevin Avendano (LB) 270-250-520; 219: 1. Angel Gutierrez (LAB) 290-285-575, 2. Rob Cerami (LB) 290-275-565, 3. Jarrett Troupe (BAY) 260-260-520; 238: 1. Dillon O’Neil (CM) 400-285-685, 2. Leonel Solis (LAB) 245-240-485, 3. Jeremy Barnett (BAY) 245-225-470; HWT: 1. Kendhal Stewart (DC) 305-235-540, 2. Wyatt Soucy 255-235-485, 3. Kayin Pinkney (BK) 275-210-485.