WINTER HAVEN -- Haines City can add two more trophies to its once-barren girls weightlifting trophy case.
The Hornets finished as runners-up in both the traditional bench and clean-and-jerk overall competition and the new snatch competition on Saturday in the Class 3A, District 10 girls weightlifting meet at Lake Wales High School.
While the Hornets fell short of a district title, it's yet another step forward toward Haines City coach David Gotsch's goal of building a top program.
"Each one is a step for them," Gotsch said. "They wanted more, but we now have three trophies in the trophy case, two from this year and one from county last year. We're proud of that. I'm a competitor. I want to win everything, but my days of competing are gone, and they're fighting their tail to get what they want."
The key to building a top program is combining top performers with depth, and the Hornets are well on their way in both areas.
In the overall competition, Haines City finished with 55 points to finish behind Celebration (84 points).
Genarah Darceus gave Haines City its only individual district champion. Darceus lifted a personal-best 145 pounds on her final clean-and-jerk attempt to tie teammate Janelle Quintana for a 275-pound total lift.
Darceus was awarded the title as she had a lower weigh-in.
Although it was their only individual title, the Hornets were close in four other weight classes.
Tiana Bowers, in the 154-pound class, lifted 145 pounds on her final lift for a total lift of 285 pounds, which she thought was good enough for the title. However, she tied Celebrations' Fabianna Millian, who had a lower weigh-in and was awarded the title.
Skyla Jones' overall total of 245 was good enough for second at 129, just 5 pounds behind Winter Haven's Riley Matthews.
Kyndal Green placed second at 139 with a 270-pound total, again 5 pounds behind Winter Haven's Gabriella Fiorillo.
At 199, Lyric Pittman finished 5 pounds behind champion Indiana Ramos of Celebration.
"I am no more impressed with one than I am the others," Gotsch said of his lifters. "There are two seniors who won't be back, and everyone else are freshmen and sophomores. I am very proud of them. It is probably more fun coaching these girls this year than I've ever had."
The results of his lifters at county and district has Gotsch excited for the future.
"We're trying to build something that is long-lasting and not just today," he said.
Like Gotsch, first-year Winter Haven coach Ryan Burnham's goal is to build the Blue Devils into a top program.
Winter Haven crowned three individual champions but lacked the depth that Celebration and Haines City showed.
Along with Matthews and Fiorillo, the Blue Devils' Alyvia Logan won decisively at 169. Her total lift of 325 pounds, which was 30 pounds more than her winning total at county last week, gave her the title by 80 pounds.
Winter Haven also got strong performances in the unlimited weight class where Kayma Williams and Dijahnay Brown finished second and third respectively.
"A lot of the girls finished top five, we just had 10 girls competition," Burnham said.
Burnham is looking to build depth going forward.
"That's what the goal is for next year," Burnham said. "They're not getting outlifted by a lot. They're really great performers, and they're really great athletes. Most of my team are sophomores, and most of them haven't done weightlifting until October. So that they were able to put in the work and make it to regionals is fantastic."
In the snatch competition, Celebration finished with 77 points, followed by Haines City (48) and Winter Haven (35).
Haines City had three district champions: Green (139), Daceus (183) and Pittman (199).
Winter Haven also also had three champions: Matthews (129), Logan (169) and Williams (unlimited).
Lakeland finishes runner-up at 3A-11
Lakeland finished second and George Jenkins was third in the overall competition at the 3A-11 meet.
Tristan Atchley gave the Dreadnaughts their only individual champion. She won the unlimited division with a total lift of 315 pounds.
Dallas Dickey gave George Jenkins its only individual champion. Her total lift of 320 pounds was the most of any lifter among all weight classes.
Lake Gibson also had an individual champion as Aiyanna Daniels won at 129 pounds. Her total lift of 284 gave her the title by 40 pounds.
Lakeland was also runner-up in the snatch competition. The Dreanaughts' Indiana Myers (154) was the only individual champion from Polk.
Lake Wales wins 3rd straight district title
It was business as usual as Lake Wales crowned five overall individual champions on route to winning the Class 2A, District 10 title.
It was the third consecutive district title for the Highlanders.
Danielle Garrison, who won her third straight district title, and Lexi Thomas led the way for Lake Wales. Garrison won the 139-pound class with an total lift of 325 pounds.
Thomas had the highest lift of any lifter in the meet. She won teh 199-pound class with a total lift of 415 pounds.
Also winning district titles for Lake Wales were Aisha Williams (129), Kayden Arliss (154) and Lydia Denton (169).
Kylie Granger (139) and Courtney Lee (unlimited) had runner-up finishes.
Auburndale finished as district runner-up with three district champions.
Alaney Hancock (101) won with a total lift of 195 pounds.
Emma Banks missed the county meet but came back to win the 110-pound class with a total lift of 230 pounds. Teammate Katie Pruitt, the county champion, was 5 pounds behind in second place.
Kaylor Dudney easily won the 183-pound by 45 pounds with a total lift of 300 pounds.
DeAsia Abrams and Hailey Burns finished second and third respectively behind Thomas.
Lake Region's Lacey Collier won the unlimited division with a total lift of 300 pounds.
Lake Wales also won the snatch team title with 95 points, and Auburndale was second with 59 points.
Lake Wales had seven individual champions: Kadayeja Styles (119), Taylor (129), Garrison (139), Arliss (154), Segarra (169), Thomas (199) and Lee (Unlimited).
Auburndale had three individual champions: Hailey Bradley (101), Pruitt (110) and Dudney (183).
McKeel grabs 1A-12 title
McKeel had individual champions at six weight classes to win the overall title at the 1A-12 district meet at Davenport High School.
The Wildcats' individual champions were Skyelar Smith (101), Angelina Whitaker (110), Emma Johnson (129), Kiana Whitaker (139), Biyancee Cofield (154) and Alexia Davis (169).
First-year Davenport was runner-up and had three district champions.
Aisha Temimi won at 119 pounds, Aaliya Smith won at 100, and Aleix Anstadt won at unlimited.
Davenport and McKeel finished 1-2 in the snatch competition as New Dimensions and Tenoroc did not have any lifters in that portion of the meet.
Davenport won six weight classes, and McKeel won four.
Roy Fuoco can be reached at email@example.com or at 863-802-7526. Follow him on Twitter: @RoyFuoco.
This article originally appeared on The Ledger: Haines City finishes district runner-up at 3A-10 girls weightlifting