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Bulldog quietly got it done

Zephyrhills senior Josh Harrington finished his career as a state runner-up.

© St. Petersburg Times
published May 31, 2002

ZEPHYRHILLS -- Josh Harrington said he wasn't surprised to hear some trash talking at the Sunshine Athletic Conference meet.

The Zephyrhills senior didn't talk back. He responded to the challenge by winning his third consecutive conference crown, his first at 129 pounds. Harrington also helped the Bulldogs to their second consecutive SAC title.

"Coach (Christopher Bounnell) taught us first of all not to talk with our mouth. He said talk with your weight," Harrington said. "I've just never been one to talk trash. I don't want to talk trash and have someone beat me. That would make me look stupid."

Harrington's consistency comes from his refusal to make the same mistake twice. In 2000, Harrington didn't allow enough time to cut weight for the state meet. He got bumped up into the 129-pound class, finishing in the top 20. But if he had lost an extra pound, he would have broken the top five at 119.

Harrington finished third in the state in 2001 at 119 pounds, but said he may have left something in the tank.

"Last year, I kind of slacked. I knew I still had another year," Harrington said. "I had a little bit of underclassmen in me. This year I decided to do it up."

Harrington slid up to 129 pounds for the first time. He said he was willing to put in the extra work to increase his totals by at least 10 percent.

"He doesn't miss a workout," Bounnell said. "He gets every rep and every set. Josh is sort of special. He's smaller in stature, but, actually, pound-for-pound, he's stronger than our bigger guys."

Harrington tailored his workouts so he would peak at state. He opened up with a 245-pound bench press, tying him with three others for first place.

As competition closed in the clean and jerk, Harrington's 210-pound attempt left him five pounds from a state championship. Crystal River's Norman Hamner edged Harrington with a 215-pound clean and jerk.

This time, Harrington wouldn't change a thing. He said he finished with his best lift and that's all he can ask.

"I had never gotten 210 before. It'd be ignorant of me to say I could get 215. Five pounds is like a house on you," Harrington said. "With adrenaline, maybe I could have gotten it. I didn't mind losing to Hamner. He worked his butt off."

Harrington may be done with competitive weightlifting, but he's not done challenging himself. Harrington plans to try out for the crew team at the University of Tampa in the fall.

"I've never done it before. It seems like it'd be kind of fun," Harrington said. "I'll have to live on campus since I'll be getting up at 5 in the morning. There's no way I'm doing that drive."

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