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Tiny Ram capped big career with third SAC title

Lauren Spena went undefeated for the third straight season.

By WAYNE GRUMET
© St. Petersburg Times
published May 31, 2002


NEW PORT RICHEY -- Lauren Spena clinched her third consecutive Sunshine Athletic Conference title on her first clean-and-jerk attempt.

The 108-pound Ridgewood senior could have stopped there, but Spena wanted to close her career with a personal best.

Spena's third lift of 110 pounds gave her a 215-pound total and another goal met.

Spena closed her career with three consecutive undefeated seasons. Her only loss came to teammate Margarita Salas her freshman year.

"That's how Lauren is," Ridgewood coach Kecia Starnes said. "Every single time she wants to beat what she's done before. That's her personal drive."

Spena applies that drive to everything. She spent the fall as a cheerleader. She is a flyer, the one tossed into the air during stunts.

When she's not flying, Spena dances at the Studio of Performing Arts. She also performed at Jimmy Ferraro's Angel Cabaret Theater during Christmas.

And she has a 3.76 grade point average, placing her in the top 15 percent of her class.

"It's really about finding people who support me and help me handle the pressure," Spena said. "It is hard work going from one thing to the next."

While weightlifting is an individual sport, the Rams have dominated the county as a team with Spena on board. Starnes said that isn't a coincidence.

"She is very much a leader. She comes in and teaches the new girls how to clean and jerk," Starnes said. "She's a role model. With her size and with as much as she lifts, the other girls try to push themselves to do what she does."

Spena didn't mind being the Rams' voice of experience.

"We had a lot of new girls this year who were really interested in being on the team," she said. "There were a lot of new girls to work with throughout practice and throughout the meets. The big thing was to see them get a title at the conference meet."

Those aren't just empty words. When Spena finished up at the SAC meet, she circled the Wesley Chapel gym, helping her teammates any way she could.

Ridgewood went on to win its fourth consecutive SAC team championship by 13 points over Zephyrhills.

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