By Chuck Ballaro, Sun Correspondent
DEVIN LEACOCK, PORT CHARLOTTE
PORT CHARLOTTE — Not many people can win a state championship, tie a state record and still leave feeling a little unsatisfied, as if they didn’t accomplish all they set out to do.
Port Charlotte High School boys weightlifter Devin Leacock is among them. The junior cruised to a state championship in the heavyweight class and tied the state record at regionals with a combined 820 pounds.
Leacock topped it off at the Class 2A state meet in Deland by winning with a combined 800 pounds (with 435 pounds in the bench). For his effort, Leacock has been chosen The Sun’s Boys Weightlifter of the Year.
“It was something I put my mind to and I did it. It’s a good feeling,” Leacock said. “It’s good to set my goals so high. When I heard I finished first I was bursting. It’s my biggest success.”
However, as wonderful as that moment was, he injured his wrist and missed his final two attempts in the clean and jerk, preventing him from breaking the record set by Cody Hughes of Lakewood Ranch in 2005. Besting the mark Hughes set a dozen years ago was among Leacock’s goals entering this season.
The all-time record for all weights is 830 by Lamar Myles of Lake Region in 2004, which he set at 238 pounds.
It will be that frustration he will take with him as much as the exhilaration of winning at state, and it will drive him to even bigger heights as a senior.
“Of course, I wanted to break the record. I was going for 390 in the clean and I hurt my wrist. I really wanted to get that record,” Leacock said.
It was that drive that not only helped him, but his teammates, which resulted in a sixth-place team finish for an undermanned Pirates squad.
“His work ethic is second to none. He’s extremely focused, prioritizes and leads the weight room,” Port Charlotte coach Jarett Debus said. “We finished well in the state ranks and he really pushed those other kids all season. His leadership ability is something nobody talks about.”
Leacock started weightlifting as a way to keep in shape and get stronger for football, which is his favorite sport, and it was his dedication that allowed him to rise quickly through the ranks.
Last year, as a sophomore, Leacock placed sixth in the state in the 238-pound weight class with a total of 670 pounds. But even that wasn’t enough, as he expected to break into the 700 Club.
He got help from his coaches, redoubled his efforts by going into the weight room at 5:30 a.m. with his teammates and ate the right foods.
“I had to work really hard. I had to improve my technique. Last year, I did a squat jerk, but you get a little more with a split jerk,” Leacock said. “Last year, when I stood on the podium I thought I’d be first this year.”
Leacock gradually worked his way toward the goal, surpassing 700 total pounds and hitting all his numbers when he was expected to. He reached 800 pounds at the District 2A-16 meet before tacking on 20 pounds two weeks later at regionals. Both events were at Charlotte High School.
Leacock said to simply break the record next year isn’t enough. That’s something he wants to attempt at the first meet of the season. He said he wants to put that record so far out of reach that nobody breaks it.
“I want to get a 900 total. I want it to be in my first meet,” he said.
The work also has helped him on the gridiron, where he plays defensive tackle. Leacock already has nine offers from colleges, including Purdue, Appalachian State and South Florida.
119: Kaden Howell
Charlotte • Sophomore
District 2A-14 and Region 2A-7 champion, 12th at the Class 2A state meet with a 190-155-345 total.
129: Alex Jen
North Port • Senior
District 2A-14 and Region 2A-7 champion, third at the Class 2A state meet with a 245-200-445 total.
139: Logan Lydic
Lemon Bay • Junior
District 1A-15 and Region 1A-8 champion, fifth at the Class 1A state meet with a 235-205-440 total.
169: Treston Kopp
Lemon Bay • Senior
District 1A-15 and Region 1A-8 champion, 14th at the Class 1A state meet with a 280-205-485 total.
183: Shekina Ayemperoumal
Charlotte • Senior
District 2A-14 and Region 2A-7 champion, 18th at the Class 2A state meet with a 310-0-310 total.
183: Ron Feril
Lemon Bay • Junior
District 1A-15 and Region 1A-8 champion, fourth at the Class 1A state meet with a 325-255-580 total.
199: Sabian Levasseur
Port Charlotte • Senior
District 2A-14 and Region 2A-7 champion, sixth at the Class 2A state meet with a 350-265-615 total.
238: Luidson Jeanty
Port Charlotte • Junior
Region 2A-7 champion, third in District 2A-14 and fourth at the Class 2A state meet with a 355-300-655 total.
Charlotte: Devin Markstahler (219), Jack Fining (238), Gage Strelau (139)
Lemon Bay: Caleb Cooper (119), Brayden Curry (199), Kevin Avendano (199), Robbie Cerami (219)
North Port: Gregg Pardue (154)
Port Charlotte: Jaden Hunter (169)
All-Area team compiled by Jordan Kroeger