Vernon High School hosted the FHSAA Boys Weightlifting Class 1A Region 2 Championship on Tuesday, March 20.
Last week’s district championships sent many lifters home as they had to make a top six finish to advance to the regional competition. After Tuesday only a select few will have the opportunity to lift at the FHSAA State Championship at Arnold High School in two weeks.
Dameion Stephens from VHS won the 199 lb class with a 330 bench press and 300 Clean and Jerk for a 630 total. A win at a regional championship guarantees the lifter an appearance at the state championship while all others must wait for a final list of qualifiers to be posted.
Wakulla from District 4 and Blountstown from District 3 entered the meet as district champions with Godby and Vernon following them as district runners-up. Some exceptional performances from key lifters allowed VHS to jump up a few more points and score just enough to edge out Blountstown in a 37-36 finish. With only Dameion Stephens securing an individual championship in the 199 lb weight class, it was going to take strong performances from the rest of the VHS team to be able to rack up enough points to come out on top. Every VHS lifter placed high enough to score team points with all but one placing in a top three position.
Vernon has held the team runner-up position at the regional level a few times in the past. Even in 2016 when they won the State championship they fell a few points behind Wakulla for the regional title. This will be the first time Vernon has ever won a regional title in boys’ weightlifting.
“Today’s Regional Championship was a total team effort,” said Coach Lee Richards. “Every one of these guys contributed critical points to our total score and without just one of those points we could not have made this happen today. If any of them would’ve placed just one position lower Blountstown would be the Regional Champions today. Many people like to think of weightlifting as an individual sport but the maximum number of points a single competitor can score is 7. It took 37 points to win today. It took a team to win today. I’m very proud of these guys!”