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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
Every once in awhile, hard work and dedication pay off in the way one wants them to. Springstead senior Josh Magrini has made weightlifting his passion during his prep career, and despite many obstacles, he finally climbed the mountain and won a state title last month. Through injuries and disappointments, he never lost hope that one day he would be standing on the state pedestal with a gold medal around his neck.
It was that attitude that made people such as Springstead coach Mike Garofano so anxious to work with Magrini and make the young lifter's goal of gold his goal, too. As a junior, Magrini finished eighth overall on the state level, putting up 500 pounds total in his weight class to do so.
"It takes some getting used to lifting in front people on that type of a stage, " Magrini said. "I was more ready for it this season than any time before."
This year, Magrini had to work harder to stay at 139 pounds to feel like he had a chance, but the efforts paid off. Not only did he stay steadily at the weight he needed to, the Eagles weight room leader bumped himself up a weight class to 154 many times to field tougher competition.
Magrini took the county title at 154 this season by defeating Hernando's standout lifter Robert Smith in the Hernando County Athletic Conference championship. His 15-pound victory over Smith, a natural 154-pounder, gave Magrini the confidence he needed heading into the sectional qualifiers.
"Robert is a real strong (lifter), " Magrini said. "It's good having someone like that around during the regular year to measure yourself against. I think it really helped."
At the HCAC meet, he totaled 530 pounds, showing how far he had come since last spring. Then at the Class 2A, Section 4 qualifier, Magrini surpassed that mark with a 535-pound total. Surely, that mark would be enough to place him in contention for the state crown at 139. The previous season, Tate's Dustin Kervin lifted 530 to take first.
Despite that thought, the Springstead star took no chances during his final trip to the state stage. He managed to total 550 pounds by combining a bench press of 320 pounds with a clean and jerk of 230. The only lifter with a chance of catching him was Josh Hamel of perennial powerhouse Spruce Creek. Hamel came up short of Magrini with a 525-pound total.
"You can't help but be impressed with how much Josh has improved over the past year, " Garofano said. "I was more than happy to help someone that motivated."
With the crown, Magrini became the first Springstead lifter to take state gold and the first Hernando County lifter to wear gold since Hernando's Addison Chipoletti (199 pounds) and Dwayne Roberts (139) in 2005. The state title was 10th all time for the county. Hernando has six, Central has three, and Springstead now has one to add to the list.
Weightlifter of the year Josh Magrini, Springstead (139 pounds) Coach of the year Mike Garofano, Springstead
After Magrini's knee injury, Garofano is the one who showed the talented lifter a technique to stay healthy and continue lifting at a high level. A 1993 Springstead graduate, Garofano was just as dedicated to Magrini's efforts in the weight room as the senior champion was. The two would go into the gym nearly every day. Garofano taped Magrini's clean-and-jerk technique so the two could work on the best possible way of getting the job done. Needless to say, it paid off.
119 pounds Keith Green, Nature Coast
Although he did not qualify for the state championships, Green won the county title over Central's Luis Baldoni, 325-320. Green was the cream of the crop despite not making any waves in the postseason.
129 pounds Donald Linton, Central
Linton edged Springstead's Zach Magrini at the county championships at Springstead, then he came in first to Magrini's second at the sectional qualifier. Although he finished last in the state finals because he scratched on all three clean-and-jerk attempts, Linton had the track record throughout the season.
139 pounds Josh Magrini, Springstead
After winning the county title at 154 pounds, Magrini dropped down to 139 for the postseason and handily beat the competition. He was able to knock out Spruce Creek's Josh Hamel when Hamel was unable to handle a 280-pound clean and jerk in his final lift.
154 pounds Robert Smith, Hernando
Smith came in 10th overall at the state meet, following up his junior effort of a tie for third. Despite the drop from 535 pounds in the finals last season to a 500-pound total this time, Smith was still a solid contender for a state title all the way to the finals.
169 pounds Bo Smith, Hernando
During the county championships, Smith beat Central twin standouts Chase and Chad Walker. His performance helped Hernando to a runnerup finish in the county standings. He was the lone county champion for the Leopards.
183 pounds DuJuan Harris, Central
The track standout could have been a favorite in the weightlifting finals this season if he did not decide to skip the competition to focus on track. After taking multiple gold medals in the FHSAA track championships, one cannot fault his decision. He easily won the county and sectional titles.
199 pounds Jesse Hartman, Central
While teammate Nathan Brazeau won the county title at this weight class and Hartman easily won the same honor at 219 pounds, it was Hartman who represented the Bears so well at the state finals in the 199-pound weight class. He finished seventh overall, the best Hernando County finish next to Magrini's state title.
219 pounds Josh Oliveira, Springstead
Oliveira really wins this one by default by finishing second to Hartman in the Hernando County Athletic Conference championships in March. Because Hartman moved down to 199 for the state postseason, Oliveira's mark of 535 pounds stands as the best mark at that weight in the county, in a tie with Hernando's Matt Cooper.
238 pounds Aaron Bourguignon, Central
Bourguignon qualified second overall in his sectional but did not make the trip to Daytona Beach for the finals. His sectional mark of 575 pounds would have placed him eighth in the state if he repeated it at state. Bourguignon walked away this season with the county title as well.
Heavyweight Matt Dilts, Springstead
Dilts is another lifter who qualified for state and did not make the trip. The heavyweight took fourth at sectionals, nabbing the final spot in the state competition if he wanted it. His total of 615 pounds would not have even placed him in the top 10 at state though.
Central: Luis Baldoni (119), Chase Walker (169), Nathan Brazeau (199)
Hernando: Rory Day (139), Bradley Hill (154), William McGee (183), Fernando Gomez (199), Kyle Bechtelheimer (199), Matt Cooper (219)