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Seffern sets the area standard

The Crystal River senior has been a state runnerup the past two seasons.

Published March 14, 2007


CRYSTAL RIVER - Five pounds. That is all that separated Jacqulyn Seffern from capturing a state title in her final attempt.

For many in the same circumstances, the finish would become a constant source of regret. Seffern was the state runnerup in her weight class as a junior also, totaling 300 pounds, and in her final season, she aimed to snag that state gold.

Seffern, 18, had topped out at 170 in the clean and jerk at the county championship, but with the title on the line, she totaled only 305 pounds overall because of her 165-pound clean. But the graduating senior has moved on with bigger goals in mind.

"Sure, it was tough to get over at first," Seffern said, "but I am far from done with what I want to do in this sport."

This sport has become a passion and has been since she lifted her first barbell as a freshman. Former coach Charles Brooks noticed Seffern's strength as she practiced cheerleading on the football field.

"As I saw her bound from one end of the field to the other, I thought to myself, 'That has to be one strong girl,' " Brooks said. "Soon after that I found out what separated Jacqulyn from the rest - she has the will to be the best at everything she does."

That work ethic influenced her exponential growth over the past four years. From only lifting 75 pounds on the bench and 85 in the clean as a first-year lifter, she has come to cement her legacy as the premier lifter from this area.

Her two second-place finishes at state stand as the top finishes of any Citrus or Hernando county lifter in the short time girls weightlifting has been recognized by the Florida High School Athletic Association. Only Lecanto's Jen Corriveau, at 110 pounds in 2006, and Crystal River's Breanna Driver, in unlimited in 2005, have come close, both finishing third.

Besides placing second as a junior and senior, Seffern began her ascent with a seventh-place state finish as a sophomore. She is a two-time county champion at 129 pounds and a two-time Times all-Citrus/Hernando Lifter of the Year.

"She is one of the strongest girls I've ever seen," Crystal River coach George Arscott said. "She really knew what she wanted to do this season and stayed focused."

She credits her improvement over the past couple years to the influence of Brooks and former Crystal River lifter Joe Vazquez. Vazquez has worked with Seffern and fellow teammate Kari Stanford on bench improvement the past two seasons. A former state placer, Vazquez took third at 183 pounds in 2005.

"I couldn't have taken second either year without Joe's help," Seffern said. "I started my junior season with a bench max of 110 pounds, and I was up to 140 by the end of this season."

With graduation on the horizon and her prep career behind her, Seffern's goals shift to the future. USF is her first choice for a secondary education, and she intends to try out for their cheerleading squad in April.

Because of her lifting success, she is contemplating competing with Team Florida's pre-Olympic lifting squad. With nine satellite gyms throughout the state, Team Florida has recruited lifters from state powerhouse Spruce Creek and other top lifters. Seffern has the chops to become a part of that elite group.

[Last modified March 13, 2007, 22:56:09]

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