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Fewer turns out better for Bulldogs

For Zephyrhills, its strength lay in quality, not quantity, this season.

One year after they sent seven lifters to state and came away without a placewinner, two of the Bulldogs' three entrants earned medals this season.

Lauren Vollmer tied for fourth at 110 pounds, and Ashley Anderton placed sixth at 199 at the state tournament Saturday at Santa Fe Community College.

"It was nice to see our school up on the medal stand getting a medal this time and to get top 10 in the state," Zephyrhills coach Joe Rinaldo said. "I don't think you can get much better of a season."

Vollmer broke her school records in the bench press (130 pounds), clean-and-jerk (130) and overall (260). She finished in a three-way tie for fourth but placed ahead of Altha's Courtney Beauchamp and Spruce Creek's Jennifer Bramhall because she weighs less.

Anderton set personal bests with a 160-pound clean-and-jerk and 305 total. Her 145-pound bench was 5 pounds off the 150 she lifted in the heavyweight division last season.

Zephyrhills' other entrant, Heather Franks, was 17th at 101. She bettered her previous marks with a 100-pound bench, 95-pound clean-and-jerk and 195 pound total, 10 pounds above what she lifted at the region tournament.

Zephyrhills' performance was its best at the state meet since the FHSAA began recognizing girls weightlifting as a sport in 2004. The Bulldogs placed fifth and had a state champion in 105-pound Sarah Crumb in a non-sanctioned state meet in 2003 at Lakewood Ranch.

Port Orange Spruce Creek's 41 points were 22 more than second-place St. Cloud and 37 more than Zephyrhills, the only county team to score points. But unlike Spruce Creek, which trains and competes in Amateur Athletic Union events year-round, the Bulldogs lift primarily in-season, Rinaldo said.

"I was pleased to represent the county and get us up to the state forefront," Rinaldo said. "It's been a great year, and I couldn't ask for anything more from these girls."

Ridgewood got top-10 performances from Meghan Saltman (seventh at 169) and Kristine Petrizzi (ninth at 119). River Ridge's Brianna Hooker (101), Mitchell's Leah Tsagaris (129) and Land O'Lakes' Andrea Hay (183) also placed eighth in their classes. Pasco's Kaci Wubbena was 12th at 119, Hudson's Bryttani Stewart 16th at 139.

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