Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014
Sports

2012-13 Hernando Today All-County Girls Weightlifting Team

Hernando Today
Published:

Lifter of the Year

Kiana Espinal

Nature Coast – Senior

COMMENTS: Three-year letterman … Repeat All-County selection … Two-time Disparti Invitational champion … Two-time Hernando County champion … Two-time District 5 champion … Two-time state qualifier … Participated in 24 career meets, notching a school-record 15 wins – all within the past two seasons … As a little-known sophomore, Espinal competed in seven meets and never won … She placed as high as second five times … In 2011-12, Espinal competed in eight meets and captured first place seven times (Lecanto and The Villages dual meets, NCT and Springstead tri-meets, Disparti, Hernando County Championship and District 5 Championship at Mitchell) … Paced the Lady Sharks with the highest combined lifts at 169 and 183 … Closed out her junior campaign placing 10th at states in Kissimmee … This past winter, Espinal competed in a school-record nine meets … She finished the season with a school-record eight wins (South Sumter, Hernando and Springstead duals, Citrus tri-meet, Central quad meet, Disparti at River Ridge, 12th Hernando County Championship at Central and District 5 Meet at River Ridge) … Just missed out on earning a medal at 10th annual FHSAA Finals by placing seventh at 169 … For the second straight year, led NCT lifters with the highest total weight hoisted at 169 and 183 pounds. … After Weeki Wachee’s Amber Lake’s 340-pound total, Espinal’s 325 ranked second best this past season.

QUOTES: “Kiana is the face of Nature Coast weightlifting. The other girls are striving to be like her. … It’s funny, but she didn’t lift as a freshman and she wasn’t satisfied after her sophomore season. … She kept pushing herself as a junior; I’m so proud of what she’s accomplished since (15 wins in her last 17 meets). … Of all the people (this year), I figured she’d be the one to place at states. We all felt like she ended up on the toughest platform. It’s a shame when you get to states that all the judges aren’t the same. To me, she deserved a medal.”

- Nature Coast head coach Sharon Elliott

“She worked so hard on her craft, it shows. She always had a great attitude and was always smiling. … Outside of lifting, she’s just as good a person as she is a lifter.”

- Springstead head coach Mike Garofano

“Hands down the best lifter in the county. … She worked extremely hard to get there. … She was always polite to the other girls and coaches; no one ever had a harsh word to say about her. … I loved the relationship between Kiana and Victoria (Alderman of Hernando). They were friends until the gym lights went on; then they were friendly rivals. After the meet, they were friends again. I loved to watch the two of them battle; I’m going to miss that.”

- Hernando head coach Casey Ellis

“I liked her intensity. She brought it with her in every meet she competed in. You only get to see someone like her every few years.”

- Weeki Wachee head coach Mike Fye

“In my book, Victoria Alderman is a great lifter. But she couldn’t beat Kiana. Kiana’s track record speaks volumes for her.”

- Central head coach Mike Einspahr

Kristina McCane

101 pounds

Springstead – Freshman

COMMENTS: Impressive debut … Competed in seven meets, capturing four (Central, Weeki Wachee, Hernando and Nature Coast duals) … Placed fourth – highest of any Hernando County placer at 101 pounds – in the prestigious Disparti Invitational at River Ridge … Finished runner-up in Hernando County meet to NCT’s Audrey Thompson by five pounds … Finished the highest of any Hernando County lifter at 101 in the District 5 Meet (fifth) … Tied for the highest total lifted at 101 with Thompson (165 pounds).

QUOTES: “Raw but talented. … Best technique from any ninth-grader I’ve ever coached. Maybe the best since Julia Monzo. … She is our building block for the future. … I expect big things from her over the next three seasons.”

- Springstead head coach Mike Garofano

Ashley Gentz

110 pounds

Nature Coast – Freshman

COMMENTS: Competed in seven meets – all at 110 pounds … Finished runner-up four times (South Sumter, Central quad meet, Disparti Invitational and Citrus tri-meet) … Captured two meets (Hernando and Springstead duals) … After scratching out during the Hernando County Championship at Central, she placed sixth (highest of any Hernando County lifter) in the District 5 Championship at River Ridge Middle/High School … She hoisted a personal-best and a county-leading 225-pound total at River Ridge.

QUOTES: “Her work ethic is something. … Never missed a day in the room. Whatever sport she is doing, she’s very dedicated. Has a bright, bright future.”

- Nature Coast head coach Sharon Elliott

Alicia Gentz

119 pounds

Nature Coast – Junior

COMMENTS: Multi-talented athlete, who also competes in track and field … Two-time All-County selection … Returned after a year off from the sport … As a freshman at 101 pounds, Gentz notched seven wins in seven meets (Weeki Wachee, River Ridge, Crystal River and Hernando duals; Citrus tri-meet, 10th annual Hernando County Championship and District 5 Championship) … Her sterling campaign closed with an uncharacteristic 19th-place finish in the FHSAA Finals … Upon her return this winter at 119 pounds, Gentz competed in six meets … This time she captured five meets (South Sumter, Hernando and Springstead duals, Central quad meet and 12th annual Hernando County Championship) … Hernando County title was her second … Placed fifth in the rugged Disparti Invite … Disappointingly scratched out during the District 5 Meet in New Port Richey and as a result failed to earn a return trip to states.

QUOTES: “I’m so glad she came back out this year. … What we missed most was her enthusiasm and her tremendous work ethic. … To me, she’s a natural under the bar. … Both she and her sister (Ashley) are very competitive people. There are few people more competitive than those two.”

- Nature Coast head coach Sharon Elliott

Jasmine Davila

129 pounds

Nature Coast – Senior

COMMENTS: Four-year starter … Two-time All- County selection … Competed in 22 career meets, posting eight wins … Competed in three meets as a frosh alternating between 119 and 129 pounds … As a sophomore, competed in six meets and finished as high as second thrice (Weeki Wachee and Crystal River duals, and Hernando County Championship) … Failed to qualify for states placing fifth in District 5 … As a junior at 129, Davila began to blossom with four wins in five meets including The Villages dual, NCT and Springstead tri-meets, and earned first-ever Hernando County title at 129 … Failed to make weight for the District 5 Meet … As a senior alternated between 139 and 129, competing in a career-high eight meets featuring four wins (South Sumter and Springstead duals, Central quad meet, and a second straight Hernando County title at 129) … Qualified for her first-ever state meet by placing third in the District 5 Meet at River Ridge … Concluded her career placing 18th in the 10th FHSAA Finals in Osceola County.

QUOTES: “She brought stability to our program as a four-year letterman. … She worked around her cheerleading schedule to compete. … Due to her cheerleading and gymnastics background, it seemed like a natural progression for her in weightlifting. … Going to miss how well she interacted and worked with all the new girls in our program.”

- Nature Coast head coach Sharon Elliott

Ashleigh Ruby

139 pounds

Springstead – Senior

COMMENTS: First-time All-County selection … Competed in a season-high eight meets alternating between 154 and 139 pounds for the Lady Eagles … Won four meets (Central, Weeki Wachee, Hernando and NCT duals) … Placed third in the Disparti Invite at River Ridge … Finished as Hernando County runner-up to Hernando sophomore Megan Lane (280-275) … While Lane placed fourth in District 5 Meet at River Ridge, Ruby mustered a career-best 295-pound total to earn the silver medal and qualify for states … Was one of two SHS state qualifiers at the Kissimmee Civic Center and placed 27th at 139 … Hoisted the highest total for any Hernando County lifter this winter at either 139 (295 pounds) or 154 (285 pounds).

QUOTES: “Had a great season. … Turned a negative into a positive by working her tail off to prepare for districts. Reaching states was much more important to her than winning the county meet. … What will we miss most? We’ll miss her presence in the room and we’ll miss how hard she worked. Her work ethic serves a great role to the other kids in the room.”

- Springstead head coach Mike Garofano

Madeline Genuardi

154 pounds

Springstead – Sophomore

COMMENTS: Second-year letterman … First-time All-County selection … Competed in five meets: two at 169 pounds, three at 154 pounds … Won four meets (Central, Weeki Wachee and NCT duals, plus the Hernando County Championship at 154 at Central) … Was the county’s highest placer (fourth) at 154 during the District 5 Meet at River Ridge … Looked at as a key building block for SHS in 2013-14.

QUOTES: “Really started to turn it on this season. … She’ll be a force to reckon with beginning next year. … With a good offseason, I expect to see her at states the next two years.”

- Springstead head coach Mike Garofano

Victoria Alderman

169 pounds

Hernando – Senior

COMMENTS: Four-year letterman …Second-time All-County selection … Competed in 17 career meets alternating between 154-169 pounds … Captured eight meets, including at least two per year for three seasons … Two-time Hernando County champion … Two-time state qualifier … Torn between club volleyball and weightlifting, limiting Alderman to two meets in 2009-10 … Placed fourth in the Hernando County meet at 154 and placed 11th in the Section V (now District 5) Meet … In 2010-11, Alderman competed in four meets, winning three (Central and NCT duals, and Hernando County Championship at 154) … As a junior in 2011-12, competed in five meets, winning twice (Central quad meet and Central tri-meet) … Rebounded from scratching out in the Hernando County Championship by earning a second-place silver medal at the District 5 Meet at Mitchell … In her first-ever state finals she finished 18th overall at 169 … As a senior this past winter, she lived in the shadow of NCT’s Kiana Espinal … In six meets, Alderman won thrice (Springstead, Central and Weeki Wachee duals) … She finished runner-up twice – both to Espinal at the 12th annual Hernando County meet at Central and District 5 Meet at River Ridge … In the 10th annual FHSAA Finals, she scratched out during the bench press portion finishing 25th overall.

QUOTES: “Her state finals were unfortunate. She worked extremely hard to get there. She put so much time and effort to be our best lifter. … She gives you everything she has. … What will we miss the most? I wish I had nine other girls just like her. … It’ll be hard to replace someone who meant so much to our program. I think the rivalry factor between Victoria and Kiana really helped elevate their game. It was an intense competition between the two girls, both of whom really wanted to win.”

- Hernando head coach Casey Ellis

Rachel Crayton

183 pounds

Nature Coast – Junior

COMMENTS: Three-year letterman … First-time All-County selection … As a three-year starter, Crayton has competed in 17 career meets, compiling five victories … As a freshman in 2010-11, she competed in four meets alternating between 154-169 pounds … Her best finish was runner-up in the Weeki Wachee and Crystal River duals … As a sophomore, she competed in five meets … Notched first-ever win at NCT tri-meet at 154 … As a junior this winter at 183 pounds, Crayton competed in a career-high eight meets, notching four wins (South Sumter, Hernando and Springstead duals, and the Hernando County Championship) … Finished third in prestigious Disparti Invite and the District 5 Meet – both at River Ridge … Finished 21st in her first-ever trip to FHSAA Finals.

QUOTES: “I definitely see her emerging as a leader next year. … What I like? She arrives focused. She sees things as black or white. She doesn’t like the other kids sitting around and goofing off when everyone else is working hard. … She’s made weightlifting more of a personal goal; she’d like to go somewhere with it. … I don’t think she wants to settle on just making states again as a senior, her goal is lofty – she’s wants to medal.”

- Nature Coast head coach Sharon Elliott

Andrea Purvis

199 pounds

Springstead – Senior

COMMENTS: Diverse athlete who also swims … Two-time All-County weightlifting selection … Named All-County in 2011 before injuring her neck and missing the latter half of her junior season … Came back to compete in seven meets this winter alternating between unlimited and 199 … Captured three meets (Hernando and NCT duals, and Hernando County Championship at 199 pounds) … Also captured the county title at 199 in 2011 … Finished second at prestigious Disparti Invite – losing the tiebreaker for first place … Reached her first-ever state championship by placing third in the District 5 Meet … Just missed on a top-six placing (and a medal) by finishing eighth at states … Her 320-pound total in Osceola County tied her personal best.

QUOTES: “I have no doubt that had she been healthy as a junior she would have medaled. As it was, she just missed. … Unfortunately, she was set back with injuries. … Andrea’s goal all season was to reach states and that’s exactly where she finished. … We will definitely miss her points. No matter where we placed her, she’d always scored big points. She almost always guaranteed us first. … Give her credit, when she was healthy, she was in the room every day working her butt off.”

- Springstead head coach Mike Garofano

Amber Lake

Unlimited

Weeki Wachee – Junior

COMMENTS: Two-year starter, who also plays basketball … First-time All-County selection … In 2011-12 as a sophomore at unlimited, Lake participated in six meets and registered two wins (South Sumter and Central duals) … As a junior this past winter, she competed in eight meets, capturing a school-record six victories (Citrus, Springstead, South Sumter and Hernando duals, Central quad meet and the Hernando County Championship) … Dropped off in two of the season’s biggest meets at River Ridge … Placed fourth at the 3rd annual Disparti Invite and finished a disappointing fifth in the District 5 Meet … Lifted the highest combined total of any Hernando County lifter last winter with a 180-160—340.

QUOTES: “Let’s just say she had a lot of stuff going on this year. … That first River Ridge meet shook her (confidence). … She really wasn’t pushed in most of the meets she participated in. … She had a taste of success this year.”

- Weeki Wachee head coach Mike Fye

Coach of the Year

Sharon Elliott

Nature Coast – 3rd Year

COMMENTS: Former architect of Central girls weightlifting program … Guided the Lady Sharks to a school record 7-1 won-lost mark … Elliott, who is 16-5 after three seasons at the helm, led NCT to its first-ever Hernando County championship … Helped CHS place the highest of any Hernando County squad in the 21-team District 5 Meet (fifth) … Pushed a school-record three lifters to the FHSAA Finals.

QUOTES: “Some people will say I deserve the credit for what our team accomplished. To me, the team deserves the credit due to our leadership and experience. As coaches we can only do so much; I’ve been blessed to have a great core group of kids – who all had the same goal. … Our assistant coach (Rudy Story) deserves credit, too. I’m the softy; I’m the nurturing type. He’s the one who has helped some of our kids push through barriers to reach their potential. … We didn’t have many new girls this year; it was a veteran group, so I was lucky in that sense. … My job is not to be complacent and continue to be excited. If I remain that way, the girls will keep pressing forward.”

- Elliott

“Sharon has done a great job with those girls; they’ve really bought into what she’s pitching. … To me, she deserves this (COY).”

- Springstead head coach Mike Garofano

“Winning the county for the first time certainly gives her a leg up on everyone else. … Her kids compete in every weight class and in every competition – that reflects back on her coaching. That deserves some recognition.”

- Central head coach Mike Einspahr

“Coaches are judged on the basis of Ws and Ls. They had a tremendous year and had terrific depth. … Sharon’s an all-round good person, and great coach. She’s definitely put in her time.”

- Weeki Wachee head coach Mike Fye

“Nature Coast always seems to have numbers and I respect her as a coach so much. … I love competing against her. … To me, hands down this was her team’s year and they got better because of her.”

- Hernando head coach Casey Ellis

2013 Hernando Today All-County Girls Weightlifting Team

WGT NAME SCHOOL YR

101 – Kristina McCane Springstead 9th

110 – Ashley Gentz NCT 9th

119 – Alicia Gentz* NCT 11th

129 – Jasmine Davila^^ NCT 12th

139 – Ashleigh Ruby^ Springstead 12th

154 – Madeline Genuardi Springstead 10th

169 – Victoria Alderman^^ Hernando 12th

183 – Rachel Crayton^ NCT 11th

199 – Andrea Purvis^ Springstead 12th

UNL – Amber Lake Weeki Wachee11th

Lifter of the Year – Kiana Espinal^^ (Nature Coast)

Coach of the Year – Sharon Elliott (Nature Coast)

^^ Denotes 2012-13 state qualifier

^ Denotes 2013 state qualifier

* Denotes 2011 state qualifier

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