Royal Knight lifters start strong in sectionals

Published January 12, 2006

NEW PORT RICHEY - At one of the two Class A, Section 4 qualifying meets held Wednesday, host River Ridge placed a meet-high eight girls among the top three in their weight classes, giving coach Mike Degennaro a reason to be optimistic about his girls' state final chances.

Degennaro was quick to not get too confident, however, as the Royal Knights only won one weight class in the absence of Zephyrhills, which was competing in the other sectional at South Sumter.

Freshman 101-pounder Brianna Hooker continued her stellar debut season, earning a first-place finish with a 205-pound total (100 bench, 105 clean).

Ridgewood had seven girls finish in the top three, led by their champions, Meghan Seltman (169) and Elizabeth Weibley. Seltman's 285-pound total was 85 pounds more than the second-place competitor.

Pasco had the most first-place finishers, as three Pirates - Sandra Garcia (110), Kaci Wubbena (119), and Demara Mabra (199) - were victorious.

Land O'Lakes' Andrea Hay won the 183-pound class with a 300-pound total (140 bench, 160 clean), making her the first lifter to accomplish that feat this year.

Up north, the Bulldogs got what coach Joe Rinaldo called "a wake-up call." After two years of county-wide dominance, Rinaldo wanted to compete in the northern sectional to see what Hernando, Citrus, Sumter and Marion counties had to offer.

Despite all of the Bulldogs improving on their totals, none won their weight class and only three placed in the top three, including Lauren Vollmer (110), who did not win her class for the first time in two years (not including last year's state meet).

The totals at both the South Sumter meet and the River Ridge meet will be combined with the totals from a Jan. 28 meet at Belleview. The top three overall will advance to the state meet Feb. 11 at Santa Fe Community College.

South Sumter sectional

BUSHNELL - Area lifters got their first glimpse of the postseason at South Sumter on Wednesday.

"This first meet really just gives the (lifters) a taste of what the competition is like now," Lecanto coach Bob LeCours said.

The top performances came from the Citrus County participants. Of the eligible 10 weight classes, seven were won by Citrus, Lecanto or Crystal River. Crystal River led all schools with four. The Pirates' winners included Beca Branch (101), Jacqulyn Seffern (129), Quincy Wilson (183) and Keri Standford (199).

Crystal River's Rachel Reed (139) led her class after the bench press, but failed to record a mark in the clean and jerk. Her effort is the prime example of someone who will have a second chance at a later qualifier.

Lecanto had two top performances from Jen Corriveau (110) and Danielle Whitelaw (169). Other winners included Citrus' Jen Wilburn (119), Dunnellon's Rachel Wilkinson (139), Springstead's Christine Alberts (154) and Hernando's Valerie Blount (unlimited).

- DEREK LaRIVIERE, Times correspondent