Panthers weigh-in as champs

Nease wins team district title, Ponte Vedra places third

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Consistency was key in Nease High’s path to a district team snatch championship, as several boys weightlifters were in contention for individual titles.

Samuel Lewis had a memorable district meet for the Nease Panthers by winning the district 3-3A snatch championship in the 119-pound class with a 125 lift, as well as finishing third in the traditional competition with a 365 total (190 bench and 175 clean-and-jerk).

Chris Dunn gave the Panthers another district title in the snatch portion of the competition by winning the 199-pound class. He lifted a class best of 190 pounds, which put him 25 pounds clear of second place and was so impressive that he did not even have to complete a third attempt because none of his competitors could approach his mark.

The Ponte Vedra Sharks earned a district title in the 219-pound class with Drew Molinari edging out the Panthers’ Evan Higgins.

Both Molinari and Higgins finished with a best lift of 155 pounds, but it was Molinari who won the tiebreaker because his body weight was about six pounds less than Higgins.

The Panthers won the team snatch district championship by compiling 59 points, which was three more than Bartram Trail High School in second place and 26 points ahead of the Sharks, who finished in third with 33 points.

A string of consistent results allowed the Panthers to rack up the points they did.

Those results were highlighted by second place finishes by Higgins, Julio Dervishi in the 238-pound class and Nate Fagen, who was just five pounds shy of the top mark in the 183-pound class.

Jon Hughes came up with a clutch runner-up performance in the 129-pound class for the Sharks with a snatch of 95 pounds.

Liam Monroe hung around the top of the leaderboard throughout the day for the Panthers, coming home in third in the 139-pound class in both the traditional and the snatch segments of the event.

The Panthers held their own and finished seventh in the Region 1-3A snatch competition with 12 points, thanks to a pair of podium performances for Lewis and Fagen.

Lewis duplicated his district lift of 125 pounds at the region meet, but instead of winning it, this time it put him in a three-way tie for second in the 119-pound class.

However, when it all sorted out, he was awarded third place because his body weight was 0.3 pounds heavier than the lifter who was granted second.

Fagen repeated his 195-pound district mark at regionals and found himself on the unfavorable end of a tiebreak as well, coming home in third in the 183-pound class.

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