Tigers rule state qualifier, advance 11 weightlifters


Published: Saturday, January 30, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 31, 2010 at 12:10 a.m.

BELLEVIEW — The Columbia High School girls weighlifting team dominated the Section 4 Qualifier on Saturday at Belleview High School.

The Tigers qualified 11 lifters for the state weightlifting meet and had five individual champions at the event.

“We’re peaking at the right time,” Columbia coach Mitch Shoup said. “We figured that we would qualify between 8-10 lifters and we were able to sneak in one more.

“The girls have been working hard all year. We’re looking forward to going to state in two weeks and competing against bigger schools.”

The top three lifters in each weight class advance to the state meet on Feb. 13 at New Port Richey River Ridge High School.

Phoebe Johnson (110), Tara Stephens (119), Alaina Timmons (129), Amber Thomas (139) and Celeste Gomez (183) were the individual champions for the Tigers, who placed third in the state last season.

Gomez, the defending state champion at 183, totaled 445 pounds on Saturday and won her weight class by 155 pounds over the nearest competitior. Gomez bench pressed 225 pounds on her way to the win.

Stephens, second in the state at 119 in 2009, rolled to her title by 85 pounds.

Other area champions included: Mimi Ho of Palatka (101), Hannah Mesh of Buchholz (154) and Morgan Boettcher of Keystone Heights (199).

Gainesville was second behind Columbia with five state qualifiers. In all, 26 of the 30 lifters and eight of the individual champions were from the area.

Other area qualifiers included runner-ups: Ashlee Chisholm (101/GHS), Amanda Parcdes (110/Keystone Heights), Stephanie Pilkington (119/Columbia), Ashley Shaw (129/Columbia), Cortnee Belton (139/Interlachen), Alix Williams (154/Columbia), Emily Keen (169/GHS), Dana Roberts (199/Columbia) and Nicole Carter (Unl./Palatka).

Advancing to state as third-place finishers from the area included: Tyler Wolfe (110/Buchholz), Ashley Hopkins (119/Eastside), Breanna Anderson (129/GHS), Ashlei Albury (139/Columbia), Kemilah Riley (154/GHS), Keneisha Peeples (169/GHS), Larissa Calhoun (183/Santa Fe), Tiara Robinson-Smith (199/Columbia) and Samantha Cook (Unl./Union County).

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