March 4, 2024

South Sumter Secures First Olympic Weightlifting Championship

3.4 min read| Published On: March 4th, 2024|

By Kyle Coppola

South Sumter Secures First Olympic Weightlifting Championship

3.4 min read| Published On: March 4th, 2024|
The South Sumter Raiders won a hard fought battle with Leesburg High School at the Lake & Sumter Olympic Championship. This is the first leg of the competition with the Traditional Championship taking place in a few weeks time at South Sumter High School. The Raiders were on point and South Sumter coach Chris Gauntlett had the Raiders ready to go to battle!
South Sumter and Leesburg would be neck and neck the entire competition. The Villages and Lake Minneola just could not keep pace and would battle for 3rd place with The Villages just sqeaking out 31 points to Lake Minneola’s 29 points to take 3rd and 4th place respectively.
Leesburg would dominate as far as winning individual places would go. The Yellow Jackets had 5 weightlifters finish in the number 1 position including Jeremy Lacy, Kayden Adams, Ryan THompson, Zach Field and Logan Thompson all finishing in first place in their weight class. However South Sumter would gain points through some impressive performances through the field.
In the 119 pound class it was Blake Smith and Makaveli McAfee who would score points with Smith finishing in 2nd place and McAfee finishing in 6th. In the 129 weight class Brody Smith finished 2nd to Leesburg’s Kayden Adams who finished first but Tucker Simmons impressed with a 4th place finish.
In the 139 pound class Cody Zilcosky would get South Sumter High’s only 1st place victory. He was followed by Jamie Solano who took 2nd place with The Villages Tanner Ostrom in 3rd.  The first and second place finish was a key strategic victory that helped South Sumter to victory. In the 154 pound class it was John Hunt who finished in 2nd place behind Tavares Nicholas Demeritte. Felipe Alanis finished in 3rd place.
Moving to the 169 poound class South Sumter had Bobby Hill would take first place edging out Leesburg’s Danny Englerth and Jason Nguyen who took second and third. While Ryan Thompson would win the 183 pound class for Leesburg, it was South Sumter’s Simon Kritz who would finish 3rd and Jake Mandahl who finished 6th who would score points which was a strategic win for the Raiders.
Leesburg High would dominate the 199 pound class with Zach Field taking 1st place and Savion Latimore taking 2nd place. Landon Fudge and Jamare Dorsey would take a respectable 4th and 5th place finish in the class keeping the meet in a dead heat.
The 219 pound class was dominated by Leesburg’s Logan Thompson. But South Sumter would impress with Ty Kadur finishing 2nd and Jason Braswell finishing in 4th place. Again another strategic win for South Sumter that would essentially cancel out Logan Thompson’s win.
In the heavyweight classes Leesburg and South Sumter would only place 1 weightlifter in the top 3 in either class. Tristan Segrest would finish 3rd in the 238 pound class with Anthony Schoenaur finishing 5th. However this performance helped South Sumter gain an edge as they beat out Leesburgs Jose Sanchez who finished in 6th place. Segrest is the son of assistant coach David Segrest and is committed to go lift in college. This was a key area of the meet that helped the Raiders take the lead.
In the Unlimited class Jake Hernandez finished 4th for Leesburg but James Campbell and Brady Mallory finished 6th and 7th. All of the performances by South Sumter as a team were good enough to barely take the victory 67 – 63 against Leesburg.
The meet was the first time that South Sumter would ever win an Olympic lifting event at the Lake & Sumter Championship. Head coach Chris Gauntlett said “It was thrilling to be a part of the meet. Since Olympic Lifting has become part of the FHSAA we have been wanting to win this. The boys are fired up for the March 21st Traditional competition at South Sumter High.” said coach Gauntlett.
“I am so proud of what these boys have accomplished. We have so many great weightlifters and it just goes to show you, that every lift matters in the competition.” said Gauntlett. He is right. Just because some of the weightlifters would not take a podium spot does not mean they can’t impact the score. Leesburg dominated the individual portion of the meet but South Sumter was able to outlast Leesburg by just a few points showing what a team sport Weightlifting is.
“I have so much respect for coach Boyer and his program.” says coach Gauntlett. “What he has built at Leesburg is one of the great programs in the state. Everyone want’s to beat Leesburg becasue they have established that dominance in our area. Both school’s take great pride in their programs and I’ve enjoyed seeing coach Boyer’s success. He is an amazing person. I am so happy our boys get to face a team of that caliber becasue if you are dominating your weightclasss, this can be an eye opener for many athletes when you might not place in the top 3 of your class. This kind of competition makes each program better.” says coach Gauntlett.
The next big meet between these two programs happens on March 21st at South Sumter. It is sure to be one of the best meets of the year. This meet has been going on since the 1980s.

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About the Author: Kyle Coppola

Kyle Coppola was born in Newton, Massachusetts and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communications from Curry College in 2016. After traveling to Florida on a family vacation, he decided he could not get enough of the warm weather and made the move from snowy Massachusetts to central Florida 8 years ago.

For the last decade Kyle has gained valuable experience in social media content creation, marketing and sales, writing, video production, sports announcing and even broadcasting for local radio stations, such as FM 102.9 in The Villages and FM 91.5 in Massachusetts. Every year he volunteers at The Villages Charter High School as a play-by-play sports announcer for the football games as well as a public address announcer for the basketball games, including the annual Battle at The Villages Tournament.

Outside the office Kyle is a husband and father to two beautiful girls along with their cat. In his spare time he likes to spend time with his family, travel, play golf and swim. He is also a huge sports junkie and even bigger motorsports fan and loves to attend racing events when he can.

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