The Wewahitchka Jr./Sr. High School weightlifting team is picking up, literally, where they left off last season.
Last season, the Gators were a surprising contender for region and state titles and this year they are off to a 4-0 start after wins over Wakulla, Tallahassee Lincoln, Sneads and Panama City Beach Arnold.
The last two meets are emblematic of the depth and talent the Gators bring to the weight room.
In a four-team meet earlier this month at Wakulla, the Gators had six seventh-graders competing and earning points.
Among them, Colton Johnson (first place), Gabe Miller (second), Corbin Hysmith (fourth), and Tyran Williams (third) in their respective weight classes, stood out.
“This is amazing for these young lifters to be competing already on such a high level,” said Coach Bobby Johns.
Individual winners for the Gators included Johnson at 119 pounds, Jonah Swigart (a freshman) at 139 pounds, Treston Smith (sophomore) at 154 pounds, Christian Mann (junior) at 219 pounds and Tyreeq Thomas (senior) at 238 pounds.
During the meet both Smith and Thomas had outstanding individual lifts, Smith posting a 520-pound total (bench and clean-and-jerk), which would have been good enough for fourth in the state last season and an impressive 240-pound clean-and-jerk.
Thomas lifted 330 pounds in the clean-and-jerk.
“With some solid competition, both Treston and Tyreeq beat two Sneads lifters that are expected to be top six competitors at this year's state finals,” Johns said.
A week later, Wewahitchka traveled to perennial power Arnold and emerged with a 49-40 win.
Individual winners included Keegan Calhoun (junior) at 129 pounds, Smith at 154, Alex Williams (sophomore) at 183 pounds, Christian Mann at 219, Thomas at 238 and Briceson Davis (sophomore) at heavyweight.
Second-place finishes came from Johnson, Caden Wooten, Tremaine Booker, Thomas Hightower, and Mathew Nunnery to help lock up the win.
Some impressive lifts for the day included Smith posting a 535-pound total, good enough for third in the state last year, and Thomas with a 340-pound clean-and-jerk, which would have been the highest in the entire state in Class 1A last season.
Thomas also had a 655-pound total that would have placed him third in the state last year.
Calhoun, Williams and Mann round out a very strong crew that are all vying for “a shot to lift at the state finals and hope to give the Gators a chance for some serious team points as well,” Johns said.
The state championship will be held May 1 at Arnold High School.