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Evidence is in Hurricane trophy case

At last month's state championship, Citrus seniors Whitney Gelin and Brittany Vitter each won titles in dominating fashion.

Hurricanes coach Doug Patton wasn't surprised.

Gelin and Vitter also won in 2002 and neither was challenged much during the regular season.

"I just couldn't have imagined anybody beating them," Patton said. "And they were solid wins (at state). Nobody was holding their breath."

The straight-faced Gelin and happy-go-lucky Vitter have differing personalities but similar results. In the gym, they were workhorses who made the most of their natural strength.

Gelin, also a soccer and softball standout, set a record at state in the 183-pound division with a 200-pound bench press. She added a 160-pound clean to win by 40 pounds.

"She's incredible," Patton said. "She pushed herself as hard as she can. It's almost scary sometimes how much she works."

Gelin won state last year at 169.

"Her work ethic is unparalleled at any level," Citrus athletic director Vicki Overman said.

"She's one of the hardest-working kids I've ever known. And she's self-motivated. It's not just what you ask her to do at practice, but what she does on her own that sets her apart."

Vitter also jumped up a class this winter, from 154 to 169.

She totaled 360 (185 bench, 175 clean) and won by 40 pounds at state. She had a personal best in the clean.

"I was pretty confident," Vitter said after winning. "I thought I had a chance. I'm proud of my clean."

The Hurricanes, easily the area's best squad, had four other all-area performers: Norma Jean Carlile, Christina Cepeda, Maggie Lanigan and Julie Shott. Citrus won the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference title and was fourth at state.

Gelin and Vitter led the way.

"We're going to miss them for being state champions, but also for their personalities," Patton said.

"They were fun to be around. They're the kind of people you dream about having."

Keith Niebuhr can be reached at 860-7337 or online at niebuhrsptimes.com.

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