JENNIFER HIBBARD, Citrus weightlifting; SHAUNTRELL NELSON, Crystal River weightlifting
During an interview two weeks ago, Hibbard spoke of how she had tried desperately to lift a combined total of 300 pounds last season at the Girls State Weightlifting Championships.
She didn't make it, instead settling for second place.
This year, Hibbard was determined to come back to Citrus County with a state title.
Saturday, she did just that.
Competing in the 183-pound class, Hibbard lifted a combined 305 _ the best in the four-year history of the event _ to earn a state title at Belleview. It was the first state weightlifting title for Hibbard and for Citrus High.
"Certainly it meant an awful lot to her," Citrus coach Doug Patton said. "She was really excited. It was another milestone for us (the program). We have accomplished quite a few things in a short period of time and that was just another to add to it."
Meantime, Nelson, a junior, scored all of Crystal River's points (seven) and won the state title in the 154-pound class. She lifted a combined 275 pounds.
Hibbard, a senior, has been on the Citrus team for two seasons. Last year, she maxed out at 285. This year, she also won the 183-pound class in the GCAC meet on Jan. 19 with a total of 310, including a conference-best clean lift of 165.
Ironically, Hibbard readily admits that two years ago she resisted joining the team at the urging of teammates, fearing the stigma that might be attached to the sport for girls. But Hibbard said participating in the sport has "made me more confident and not self-conscious about what I feel inside and not how I look on the outside."
It also has made her a state champion.
Jadrien Grimsley and Tarrence Rhodes, Crystal River: Grimsley scored a game-high 25 points and Rhodes added 18 points in a one-point win over Wildwood.
K.J. Atkins and Justin Riedy, Lecanto: Scored 24 and 16 points respectively in a win over Seven Rivers to end a seven-game losing streak.
Phil Davis, Citrus: The senior scored a team-high 21 points and went over the 1,200-point career mark in a win over Lake Weir.
Rick Miller, Citrus: Came off the bench and scored 12 points while grabbing some crucial rebounds as Citrus fought off Lake Weir for a district win.
Sarah Hernandez, Lecanto: Scored a team-high 16 points in a win over Central.
Candice Wright, Citrus: Scored a team-high 15 points and added seven assists and eight steals in a win over Belleview.
Erin Bailey, Lecanto: Hit a free throw that gave Lecanto the lead in a tied game, which the Panthers eventually won by three over Central.
Katie Steelfox, Citrus: The freshman scored 14 points in the win over Belleview.
Bryan McErlain, Crystal River: Won the 135-pound division in Saturday's Citrus Invitational.
Billy Fleckstein, Citrus: Won the 145-pound title at the Citrus Invitational with a 9-0 major decision in the championship match.
Ann Butzer, Citrus: Earned second place at the state meet with a combined lift of 310 in the 169-pound class.
Alica Short and Jenny Wheeler, Lecanto: Each scored a goal and added an assist in a 3-0 win over Central.
Donny Caldwell, Crystal River: Scored two of the team's goals in a 3-2 win over Springstead.
Greg Schell and Nick Rowthorn, Lecanto: Schell scored the game-winning goal and Rowthorn had 20 saves in a 2-1 win over Central.
_ ANTONYA ENGLISH