PUNTA GORDA – Charlotte is still a long way from another trip to the state tournament, but the Tarpons proved they are still atop the best in the area Wednesday.
Charlotte scored 70 team points to dominate their three-team meet over Lemon Bay and North Port, who earned 23 and 16 points respectively.
“The girls all did really well, a couple of them got PRs,” Charlotte head coach Matt Galley said. “I’m very happy with their performance.”
The Tarpons claimed the top spot in nine of the 10 weight classes, earning the top two spots on the podium in half.
Defending state champion Lexus Sweet won the 139-pound weight class by a stunning margin, lifting a combined 360 pounds. The second place finisher cleared 240. Sweet’s total in the bench and clean and jerk would have won the three weight classes above her by over 50 pounds.
“Being the State Champion, everyone is going to look up to her and expect her to be a role model and follow in her footsteps,” Galley said.
Britney Williams posted the highest total score, setting a personal record with a score of 430. Galley was also impressed with Annabelle Anderson, who won the 129-pound weight class by a sizeable 85-pound margin.
“We’re definitely where we want to be right now,” said Galley. “A lot of the girls are a little bit ahead, which could be a good thing or bad thing. We could be peaking too early, but as long as we keep progressively growing towards states, we’ll be happy.”
Galley knows that if the Tarpons are going to improve on their sixth-place finish in states from last season, they are going to need significant contributions from the entire team.
“We’re lucky here at Charlotte. We’re pretty full throughout all the weight classes so there’s not really a weak spot. That helps us do really well as a team.”
Even though Lemon Bay and North Port both finished a long distance behind, their head coaches were pleased with the overall performance early in the season.
“We tell them not to worry about anyone else, just you and getting your PR every time,” Lemon Bay head coach Dawn Hall said. “We just need to get the new people more practices. That would help. Other than that, they just keep improving every meet.”
Kayla Vaughan was the only non-Tarpon to earn a win Wednesday, taking home the title in a very competitive 169-pound weight class.
“Kayla really bought into working as hard as she can whenever she can,” Hall said.
Hall was also impressed with Aydria Urshan, who spent over six months rehabbing a broken leg that she suffered at the end of last season.
“Her doctor just released her about a month ago,” Hall said. “She’s just a strong girl. Once we get her form down, she’ll really step up. She’s really committed.”
Lemon Bay and North Port are still molding their rosters, incorporating athletes who recently wrapped up their volleyball and swimming seasons.
“For them to be able to even do the form is really great,” Hall said about the athletes transitioning from other sports. “Honestly, they really did well overall.”
The Bobcats expect to compete for a county and district championship, but sat out several lifters due to illness and training purposes.
“We brought a lot of first-timers here,” North Port head coach Wayne Skelton said. “We left four state qualifiers behind, but I’m thrilled with the job the younger ones did today.”
Skelton said the Bobcats are focusing on Lemon Bay’s meet later in the month, but that Wednesday’s meet was key to developing his entire roster.
“Training to us is much more important than competing,” he said. “We want to get better every time we get on the platform. That comes from training. I would think we can win the county championship and start qualifying folks for regional and state participation.”
RESULTS BY WEIGHT CLASS
(Score is combined total weight of top bench press added to top clean and jerk
101 – Madison Shepard (CH) 265, Brisilda Bejte (CH) 255, T. Wilburn (NP) 195
110 – Lauren Meddaugh (CH) 230, M. Delapara (NP) 220, K. Wilburn (NP) 215
119 – Natalie Jen (CH) 280, Samantha Sineath (NP) 245, Jayla Price (CH) 230
129 – Annabelle Anderson (CH) 310, Sarah Hamsher (LB) 225, Gianna Creola (CH) 225
139 – Lexus Sweet (CH) 360, Ashleigh Miller (CH) 240, Amber Vansickle (LB) 225
154 – Skylar Gribben (CH) 275, Hannah Krzysiak (LB) 220, M. Fischer (NP) 205
169 – Kayla Vaughan (LB) 280, Daphnie Toussaint (CH) 275, Lauren Bell (CH) 265
183 – Erika Lane (CH) 305, Cheyenne Warren (CH) 305, Morgan Dempsey (LB) 165
199 – Aryana Haynes (CH) 420, Josenie Telfort (CH) 395, D. Holguin (NP) 375
UNL – Britney Williams (CH) 430, Ana Rosado (CH) 330, Kasey Romanelli (LB) 285
CH – 70
LB – 23
NP – 16