Weightlifting snatches first at districts


photo by Erin Thornsbury

Senior Hali Fildes won first in snatch with a weight of 140. The team took first in snatch and second in bench/clean and jerk.

Following a loss to longtime rival, Winter Springs, the girls weightlifting team went into the FHSAA District Championship with a motivated mindset, with a goal to win districts again.
“I think Winter Springs beating us at conference made us a little more on edge, but we just kept lifting and competing,” sophomore Ava Zena said.
The team finished second in bench/clean and jerk and first in snatch out of the seven teams who competed. Zena, 169 weight class was among the top lifters at districts, which also included senior Chloe Varady, 169 weight class, senior Hali Fildes, 154 weight class, and sophomore Baylee Basco, 119 weight class.
“A lot of times I overthink lifts and psych myself out, but yesterday I stayed confident the whole time,” Varady said.
Varady was able to set a new personal record of 170 pounds for the clean and jerk, finishing fourth for her weight class. Along with Varady, Zena hit a new personal record of 135 for her bench despite recovering from a broken finger.
“The biggest challenge for me was getting back into lifting,” Zena said. “I had to get surgery on it, but the day my doctor cleared me, I was back in the weight room to get back to where I was before the accident. It was definitely hard, but it was 100% worth it.”
Last year the team won conference and districts, but after losing top lifters like Olivia Lipari, 129 weight class, Megan Carlson, 101 weight class, and Karlie Marini, 183 weight class the team had to rebuild.
“It was harder [because] we lost quite a few girls who had high numbers and this year we have a lot of first year girls,” Fildes said. “But that being said, the newer girls have been working really hard and have made lots of progress.”
Overall the team performed well at Districts, and many of the girls were able to finish with a personal record or victory. The win brought a good feeling of confidence since Winter Springs has long been a rival when it comes to weightlifting.
“Honestly I don’t know when the rivalry against Winter Springs started,” Fildes said. “I just know ever since my freshman year we have been very competitive against them. I think it’s because they also have a good team and are good competition for us.
With motivation from their win, the team will advance to the FHSAA Regional Championship at Hagerty on Saturday, Jan. 29, with all 20 lifters competing in the snatch and 16 out of 20 lifters qualifying for bench/clean and jerk.
In previous years, weightlifting teams only competed in the bench/clean and jerk competition, however this year snatch was added to practices and competitions. Snatch is similar to the clean and jerk, but instead of bringing the bar to the chest the person brings the bar above their head in one swift motion.
The team practices five days a week after school. Practices usually consist of stretching then followed with workouts written on a whiteboard. They practice improving their clean and jerk, snatch, and bench.
“Everything we’ve been doing has helped all of us so I don’t see it changing much,” Fildes said. “We are definitely ready for regionals and ready to see the competition from schools we haven’t gone against yet.”