NEW PORT RICHEY — After finishing last year with eight points, it seemed like Fort Walton Beach had something to prove going into this year's Class 2A state weightlifting finals. It took the team title Friday with 28 points, eight in front of Seminole Ridge, to win at River Ridge High School.
Wesley Chapel's Kamran Joyer (440-pound bench, 325 clean and jerk, 765 total) came up 5 pounds off Fort Walton's Akeem Spence (425-pound bench, 345 clean and jerk, 770 total), who claimed the heavyweight title.
"I am kind of surprised," Joyer said. "I thought I would be able to come out here and come in first, but I just didn't get it done. I was kind of upset but at the same time happy because I know him (Spence) personally."
Also placing from Pasco County was River Ridge's Mario Stewart (275-pound bench, 240 clean and jerk) in the 139-pound weight class. He was second to Spruce Creek's Michael Stephenson (270-pound bench, 245 clean and jerk,), who tied with Stewart in total pounds lifted but finished first based on weighing seven-tenths of a pound less than Stewart.
Stewart set a school record for the clean and jerk, lifting 240 pounds.
"I wanted to win, that was really my motivation for today," Stewart said. "My coach just told me go out there and give your best lift and what happens, happens."
Other North Suncoast notables included Springstead's Geovanny Decene (245-pound bench, 225 clean and jerk), who finished fifth in the 139-pound class.