Breaking Hernando county news, local sports and events, and weather from Hernando Today | | Hernando Today
Monday, Mar 30, 2015

Girls Weightlifting

TONY CASTRO Hernando Today correspondent
Published:   |   Updated: March 7, 2013 at 04:12 PM

View allPage 1 of 2 | Next page

Page 2 of 2 | View all Previous page

January was a month of firsts for the Nature Coast program.

On Jan. 16 at Central, Nature Coast claimed its initial Hernando County championship, denying Springstead a seven-peat, 67.0-57.0. It marked the first time in 10 years that the Lady Sharks ruled the county weight room.

A week later at River Ridge, the Brooksville-based program produced its best-ever district finish – placing fifth in the 21-team District 5 Meet.

Only the top three lifters in each of 10 weight classes in the New Port Richey event automatically qualified for states.

Third-year skipper Sharon Elliott's Nature Coast team pushed a school-record three lifters to today's elite stage at the Kissimmee Civic Center for the 10th annual FHSAA Finals.

Competition begins at 10:30 a.m. with weight classes 154 through unlimited. Lighter weights will follow.

Of Hernando County's six-member contingency at states, Nature Coast will be represented by: seniors Kiana Espinal at 169 pounds and Jasmyn Davila at 129, along with junior Rachel Crayton at 183.

County runner-up Springstead, which placed sixth at District 5, will be represented by two seniors: Ashleigh Ruby at 139 and Andrea Purvis at 199.

Rounding out the county crew in the Osceola County meet is Hernando senior Victoria Alderman at 169.

Of the six, only Espinal (10th place at 169) and Alderman (18th place at 169) are returning state qualifiers.

Only the top six in each of the 10 weight classes return home with a state medal.

The defending state champion is Orange Park-Spruce Creek, which nipped Navarre last winter, 30.0-28.0.

Of Hernando County's previous 46 state qualifiers, none has ever returned home with a coveted gold medal.

The task at hand for the Lady Sharks is simple. Of the past six Nature Coast lifters at states – none has ever placed.

Espinal's 10th-place finish last winter at the same Osceola County venue edged Kelli Bloom's 11th-place effort in 2006.

Espinal's 320-pound total (behind a 165-pound bench and a 155-pound clean-and-jerk) in 2012, serves as the school record for the most weight hoisted in any state meet.

Oddly enough, the last time Espinal tasted defeat was last winter's state event.

In a wonderful senior campaign worthy of Hernando County Lifter of the Year status, Espinal enters the state finals on a proverbial roll.

This winter, Espinal is batting 8-for-8. She has not lost in eight meets. In her only event at 183 pounds, she captured a quad meet at Central behind a combined 300-pound total.

She's captured seven meets at 169 including: a South Sumter dual, a Hernando dual, the 3rd annual Disparti Law Group Invitational at River Ridge, a Springstead dual, a Citrus tri-match, the 12th Hernando County Championship and the District 5 Championship.

The two-time district and county champion is missing only one item from her glossy resume – a state medal. To remain unbeaten, however, will be a tall order.

In the recently released state seedings, Espinal is on the bubble of even earning a sixth-place medal behind a 160-165—325-pound total.

Sebastian River's Brandi Lucas is the state's top seed with a 390 total followed by Bartram Trail's Whitley Garland (355), Choctawhatchee's Caitlyn Brandenburg (340), Wekiva's Kaitlin Dickinson (330) and Gainesville's Breanna Thomas (330).

On Espinal's approach, "She knows getting seventh- or eighth-place at states doesn't mean a thing," shrugged Coach Elliott. "At this stage you want to go all out and lay it all on the line."

On how much last year's state meet could help this time, "Kiana has done her homework. She knows the girls' names and is always looking for her closest competition," identified Coach

Elliott. "Last year, she basically came to states to get the exposure of such a big meet. I don't think she realized how close she was to placing.

"All the lifters at states will be nervous – that's a given" added Coach Elliott. "Thank goodness the top five upper weights go first this year so her flight will be up first. There's no waiting around for hours with her."

Unlike Espinal, both two-time county champions Davila and Crayton are looked at as extreme long shots of cracking the upper half of their respective weight classes. Their goals, according to Coach Elliott, have been modified.

Crayton arrives with a personal-best 280 total and is seeded 24th while Davila, behind a seasonal-best 255 total, is seeded 25th.

"For Jasmyn states are special because she's a senior. She's earned a right to compete here," described Coach Elliott. "She just wants to get a personal best."

On Crayton, the coach said, "Rachel is like Jasmyn. Her weight class is loaded with great lifters. She's just looking for her personal best and some motivation for next year."

With Espinal capturing the headlines with her phenomenal season, Alderman has quietly gone about her business.

The 2012 state qualifier captured the first three meets she competed in at 169 against Springstead, Central and Weeki Wachee.

Her fourth meet – the 12th annual county meet – Alderman was beaten by her archrival Espinal, 320-305.

A week later, Espinal won again (barely) in the District 5 Meet, 325-320.

The third and final head-to-head confrontation may not only determine the neighborhood's bragging rights, but also have a state medal at stake.

Alderman enters states seeded eighth behind a 320 total. Alderman's coach, Casey Ellis, believes today could be her turn for success.

"In practice, Victoria has benched 175. I think she could get 180. If she does that in Kissimmee, look out," warned Coach Ellis on the friendly rivalry against Espinal. "Those two have pushed each other all year. It's great for the girls and it's great for the sport. I wish everyone had someone they knew who could push them like Kiana. This week, Victoria has been really concentrating on her clean-and-jerk."

On the experience factor, "I really think coming back here will help her," insisted Coach Ellis. "She knows the routine. She knows the building. She knows what the judges are looking for. I think that all stems from last year's meet."

Similar to Nature Coast's Davila and Crayton, Springstead's duo of Ruby and Purvis are both making their initial treks to the state finals.

On a rebuilding Lady Eagle team, Ruby has had a stellar campaign. In seven meets, Ruby has not placed worse than third. She arrives as the Hernando County Honor Roll leader at 154 (285 total) and at 139 (295 total).

"Even before districts we were pointing toward a 315 total for Ashleigh at states," noted Springstead's sixth-year skipper Mike Garofano. "To me, she's peaking at precisely the best time of the season."

Ruby arrives seeded tied for ninth at 295. She, too, is on the bubble as far as a state medal.

Navarre's Praise Pettus arrives as the top seed behind a 355 total, just five pounds more than River Ridge senior Alexis LiCalsi.

On Ruby's chances, "I wouldn't bet against her," said Garofano. "She wants her best day to be Saturday. I think she has it in her (to place)."

Purvis, who missed the latter half of the 2012 season including the state series due to injury, has finished no worse than third in any of her previous six meets this season.

In the latest District 5 Meet, she placed third with a 320 total just behind Hudson's Bailey Foster (335) and Sam Kanawall (330).

Like Espinal, Alderman and Ruby, Purvis is on the medal bubble arriving as the eighth seed. Pensacola-Pine Forest's Lamia Miller is the top seed behind a 375 total.

"Before districts we knew that she'd need about a 340 total (to medal)," described Coach Garofano. "She's improved her bench to a 185. I'd be happy with a 180 on her bench and a 160 on her cleans."

On Purvis' goals, "There's no point on getting, say, 10th place or eighth place," detailed Coach Garofano. "Our goal is go big on our last bench and clean. We think that our last clean will be the money-maker."


All-Time Hernando County Girls Weightlifting State Results (2004-13)

- Compiled by TONY CASTRO



Espinal, Kiana NCT 12th 169

Davila, Jasmyn NCT 12th 129

Crayton, Rachel NCT 11th 183

Alderman, Victoria HER 12th 169

Purvis, Andrea SPG 12th 199

Ruby, Ashleigh SPG 12th 139




Monzo, Julia SPG 12th 101 125 120 245 6th

Espinal, Kiana NCT 11th 169 155 165 320 10th

Alderman, Victoria HER 11th 169 155 135 290 18th

Barnett, Farley SPG 12th UNL 155 165 320 20th

Costa, Sarah SPG 12th 101 95 100 195 21st




Thomas, Tan'kea HER 12th 129 125 130 255 15th

Monzo, Julia SPG 11th 101 100 105 205 16th

Nelson, Kelly SPG 12th 154 155 135 290 16th

Gentz, Alicia NCT 9th 101 90 100 190 19th

Mackiewicz, Dana NCT 10th 183 110 0 110 25th




Draganchuk, Jennifer SPG 12th 129 145 145 290 9th

Roberts, Chelsea NCT 12th 154 120 135 255 19th

Rosino, Jennifer SPG 12th 169 165 130 295 11th

Sharpe, Jasmine HER 12th 199 160 140 300 11th

Marks, Adreanna SPG 12th 183 140 135 275 19th




Monzo, Caroline SPG 12th 110 125 125 250 8th

Kuhn, Lindsay SPG 12th 100 90 100 190 16th

Pagan, Frances SPG 12th 199 135 120 255 16th

Baylor, Ava HER 12th UNL 170 145 315 16th

Blount, Melinda HER 12th 129 135 125 260 18th (tie)

Sharpe, Jasmine HER 11th 199 165 0 165 24th




Jackson, Johnisha CEN 12th UNL 190 160 350 3rd

Stephens, Kristian HER 12th 183 210 140 350 4th

Hayes, Melody HER 12th UNL 175 140 315 12th(tie)

Sharpe, Jasmine HER 10th 199 145 135 280 12th(tie)




Alberts, Christine SPG 12th 154 165 150 315 4th

Jackson, Johnisha CEN 11th UNL 205 145 350 7th

Stephens, Kristian HER 11th 183 150 125 275 11th




Blount, Valerie HER 12th UNL 200 155 355 5th

Jackson, Johnisha CEN 10th UNL 195 150 345 7th

Bloom, Kelli NCT 12th 183 155 140 295 11th

Weaver, Nikki CEN 12th 154 130 145 275 15th

Alberts, Christine SPG 11th 154 INJ/DNC




Ryan, Megan SPG 11th 119 135 105 240 8th

Jackson, Johnisha CEN 9th UNL 180 140 320 14th

Blount, Valerie HER 11th UNL 170 150 320 15th

Daignault, Nicole HER 10th 169 140 0 140 25th

Bloom, Kelli NCT 11th 183 135 0 135 27th

Alberts, Christine SPG 10th 139 DNC




Ryan, Megan SPG 10th 119 135 125 260 7th

Zavesky, Mindy CEN 10th 110 105 120 225 7th

Buckler, Chelsey HER 12th 110 110 105 215 13th

Torres, Rebecca HER 12th 199 140 130 270 17th

Margeih, Sabreen CEN 10th UNL 170 125 295 17th

Daignault, Nicole HER 9th 169 140 0 140 22nd

Alberts, Christine SPG 9th 129 DNC



Hernando County All-Time State Qualifiers (2004-13)

- Compiled by TONY CASTRO


Spring Hill-Springstead 19

Brooksville-Hernando 17

Brooksville-Nature Coast Technical 9

Brooksville-Central 7

Weeki Wachee 0



Hernando County All-Time State Placers (2004-12)

- Compiled by TONY CASTRO


Brooksville-Central 1

Brooksville-Hernando 2

Brooksville-Nature Coast Technical 0

Spring Hill-Springstead 2

Weeki Wachee 0


View allPage 1 of 2 | Next page

Page 2 of 2 | View all Previous page

Trending Now