The competition was tough and Nature Coast to its veteran for leadership.
Kiana Espinal did her part. She won the 169-pound class Saturday, at the 3rd annual Disparti Law Group (DLG) Invitational held at River Ridge.
Espinal, who competed at the state meet last year, had a bench press of 150 pounds and a clean-and-jerk of 165 for a 315 total. She won by 25 pounds, repeating her first-place finish in that weight class a year ago.
She led Nature Coast to 25 points and a tie for fourth place in the 14-team meet. Hudson also had 25 points.
River Ridge won with 54 points. Leesburg was second with 34 points and Sunlake was third with 29 points.
"It was a good day,'' said Nature Coast head coach Sharon Elliott. "We had some good competition."
Springstead was sixth with 16 points. Weeki Wachee was 12th with three points.
Nature Coast's Ashley Gentz was second in the 110-pound class. She had a bench of 100 and a clean-and-jerk of 110 for a 210 total.
Espinal said she wasn't physically where she needed to be.
"I'm not as strong as I have been," she said. "On bench, I need to get stronger. I didn't work to my full potential last summer. I don't know why. I guess I was a little lazy.
"If I put in the work, I'm going to get to state."
Espinal's coach has full faith in her ace lifter.
"She has a good work ethic," Elliot said. "She has experienced state and knows what she needs to do."
Espinal does know what she will do next year. She carries a 3.3 grade point average and will be attending Valencia Community College in the fall.
For now, though, Espinal is geared to returning to the state meet and leading Nature Coast to weightlifting success.