WINTER ALL-AREA: Girls Weightlifting

By Chuck Ballaro, Sun Correspondent

PUNTA GORDA — To win one high school state championship is an amazing achievement. To win three is a whole other matter.

Charlotte High School girls weightlifter Breanna Jacobs is one of those athletes who found her niche and excelled at an extremely high level.

The result was a string of success that put her in the upper echelon of the greatest athletes in the history of her school, minor sport or not.

Jacobs wrapped up her high school career with a third straight state weightlifting championship, doing it in three different weight classes. She won the 129-pound class with a 190-pound bench press and 170 in the clean and jerk, beating teammate Sylvia Gardien by 15 pounds.

For that third title, Jacobs once again heads The Sun’s all-area weightlifting team as its weightlifter of the year.

“I’m very blessed to be a state champ representing Charlotte High School. It’ll probably be remembered for the rest of the school’s history,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs, who also was a cheerleader for four years and has been a gymnast since age 2, took up weightlifting as a way to improve her strength for those sports.

“Gymnasts have to have a lot of upper-body strength and I was usually the base as a cheerleader. I got into it so I can work on those,” she said.

Charlotte High girls weightlifting coach Angie Nolan called Jacobs a quiet leader who led by example with her tenaciousness from Day 1, even testing her abilities against the boys.

“I remember as a freshman she would work out with us, then go to her stepdad Ray Hixson, the boys coach, and work out with (the boys),” Nolan said.

That drive paid off in her freshman year as she qualified for the state championship in the 101-pound class and placed sixth. The following year, at 110, Jacobs became the first girls weightlifter in school history to win a state title before repeating the following year at 129.

Jacobs started the season at 139, but returned to 129 midway through this season.

Nolan said once Jacobs became a state champion, she knew she wanted to win it again and again, and was driven to achieve it, against the odds.

“It’s not an easy thing to do. Eyes are on you all the time and everyone is trying to take you down and gunning for you,” Nolan said. “She’s a hard-nosed girl and from the moment she came here she knew what she wanted to accomplish.”

Added Jacobs: “It’s all about setting goals for myself and doing my best to achieve them, and if I couldn’t I would go lower and achieve the higher ones later. It’s about the mind strength and physical strength.”

Among Jacobs’ goals after high school is to attend Florida Southwestern University to become an EMS.

The best thing about records is that they are meant to be broken, and those who are there now and come after her are going to try to break those records. Jacobs, who holds most of them in four weight classes, welcomes them to give it a go.

“They all want to be like me. They say they’re coming for my records and I tell them to go for it,” Jacobs said. “I want the best of them. It’s not all about me. I want them to be state champs as well.”

THE JACOBS FILE

Age: 17
Parents: Nancy and Raymond Hixson
Siblings: Brooke and Brittany Jacobs
College: Southwestern Florida University
Major: EMS
Favorite food: Chicken nuggets
Favorite athlete: Ronda Rousey
Favorite subject: science

ALL-AREA TEAM

110: Natalie Jen
Charlotte • Sophomore
District 2A-16 and Region 2A-8 champion, seventh at the Class 2A state meet with a 130-135-265 total.

110: Jena Trainor
Charlotte • Senior
District 2A-16 and Region 2A-8 runner-up, sixth at the Class 2A state meet with a 135-130-265 total.

119: Emily Schulte
Lemon Bay • Senior
District 1A-14 and Region 1A-7 runner-up, fourth at the Class 1A state meet with a 135-130-265 total.

129: Sylvia Gardien
Charlotte • Senior
She was only outdone in her weight class be teammate Breanna Jacobs. Gardien was a state runner-up in Class 2A with a 170-175-345 total, as well as a runner-up in District 2A-14 and Region 2A-8.

129: Macayla Marinola
Lemon Bay • Senior
District 1A-14 and Region 1A-7 champion, eighth at the Class 1A state meet with a 145-145-290 total.

139: Maranda Eckhoff
Port Charlotte • Senior
District 1A-14 and Region 1A-7 champion, fifth at the Class 1A state meet with a 165-155-320 total.

139: Britney Augustin
Charlotte • Junior
District 2A-16 and Region 2A-8 champion, eighth at the Class 2A state meet with a 145-160-305 total.

154: Savanna Galloway
Lemon Bay • Senior
District 1A-14 and Region 1A-7 champion, fifth at the Class 1A state meet with a 165-155-320 total.

HONORABLE MENTION

Charlotte: Brisilda Bejte (101), Madison Hankinson (101), Mahra Moss (199), Tiffany Dodson (unlimited)
Lemon Bay: Hannah Kane (101), Kacee Nelson (119), Skylar Swencki (110), Kennedy Reigle (199)
Port Charlotte: Giovanna Livingston-Witter (unlimited)

All-area team compiled by Jordan Kroeger

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