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Saving their best for last

Area lifters, led by Crystal River, pull out their best performances in the final qualifier for state.

By DEREK LaRIVIERE
Published January 29, 2006


BELLEVIEW - Each lifter had one last shot, one more opportunity.

After the first two state qualifying meets place earlier this month, Saturday's meet at Belleview served as the final chance for area participants to earn a spot in February's FHSAA meet. Most of the lifters did not disappoint.

Of the 30 qualifiers from Class A, Section 4, 25 used their totals from this meet to grab their place at states. Crystal River led the way with four qualifiers.

"I am so proud of how much the girls have improved over the course of the year," Crystal River coach Charles Brooks said. "The changes have been dramatic."

Quincy Wilson (183) and Jacqulyn Seffern (129) topped the Pirate standouts with first-place showings during the three-sectional competition. Seffern benched 130 pounds and clean and jerked 155 to total 285, beating her closest competitor by 10 pounds. Wilson also was dominant, winning her division by 20 pounds (160 bench, 160 clean and jerk).

Other top schools included Belleview, Zephyrhills and Ridgewood, with three qualifiers each. Lecanto, Central and South Sumter each had two individuals moving on to the next round.

"It's such a great thing for the two girls that moved on," Lecanto coach Bob LeCours said. "They really deserved it after all their hard work."

Some of the more noteworthy performances included Ridgewood's Meghan Saltman (169), Springstead's Christine Alberts (154) and Hernando's Valerie Blount (unlimited). Saltman topped her class with a total of 305 (150 bench, 155 clean and jerk). The mark was 40 pounds above the second place-finisher, her teammate, Jennifer Cahill.

Alberts qualified based on her mark from the South Sumter meet, where the Eagles standout put up a total of 305, which no one came close to in the three meets.

Blount could have relied on her total from lifting at South Sumter, where she put up 335. Instead, she decided to prepare for states by continuing to compete, and it paid off. She totaled 350 (190 bench, 160 clean and jerk) on Saturday to put 25 pounds between her and second-place lifter Akaja Becky of Belleview.

"They looked good out there," Brooks said. "I expect to have a couple of girls in the top five at states after it's all over."