DELAND — It was the same meet, the lifters were on the same team and put in a similar situation, but it was a very different experience for Citrus seniors Austin Quandt and Chris Adamson at the 1A Boys Weightlifting State Finals at DeLand High School on Saturday.
For Quandt in the 199-pound weight class, he moved up a spot from where he was seeded and that’s all he needed to do in order to secure his sixth-place medal — the only lifter of the eight Hurricanes competing to do so.
Meanwhile, Adamson was coming in as the highest seeded lifter from Citrus County going into the 1A meet. He was also the only county lifter with state meet experience from the season prior. At the end of the day, the 169-pounder left in the 9th spot — still a top 10 lifter in the state, but not up to the goals he had set out for himself.
What put Quandt and Adamson in their respective spots paralleled in the strangest of ways.
Adamson was set to hit 290 pounds on the bench after opening with a 280 to match his total from the regional meet on March 25 where he was crowned champion. Be it the the soft-spoken cadence in which the judge called out weights or the volume of the crowd, Adamson ended up missing his call for the 290 and was forced to jump to 295, where he scratched twice. The mishap at bench press proved to have an impact.
Had Adamson hit the 290, his total would have been 245 — 10 pounds heavier than what he finished and the same total of the sixth-place lifter in his class. With the senior Hurricane weighing less than that lifter, he would have won in a tiebreaker.
“We had these numbers in our head that we wanted to get, some kids made them and some fell short,” Citrus coach Chop Alexander said. “I think we had fun though and represented the school well.”
Having also not heard a judge’s call for weight, Quandt was forced to go up five pounds to a clean and jerk of 260. The result? A final lift that had the senior leaving on a high note and with a medal in hand.
“It’s just great — it’s something that I’ve worked hard for since my freshmen year,” Quandt said. “I’m so blessed to be here and be able to leave my mark at State.
“It was a little nerve-wracking, but you have to put your feelings and emotions aside to take care of business and that’s what I felt like I did.”
Alexander made sure he was there to witness Quandt’s moment.
“He had to go up. He was uncomfortable at 260, but he ended up getting it and it was one of the better cleans I’ve ever seen him do,” Aelxander said.
“I’m very proud of him for that. He’s been sore all week, but he works through it. He’s a senior, he didn’t go to State last year, so for him to get a medal this year is pretty special.I think it gives these younger guys something to look forward to.”
In the midst of the excitement, Crystal River High School made sure to have a presence as well. Junior Logan Wardlow came into the 154 class as a No. 20 seed and managed to show the standings wrong with a placing at 17th.
“He had to two personal bests, came in seeded 20th and moved up three spots,” Pirates coach Tony Lewis said. “I think we’re both really pleased with his performance on his bench and clean. He did a great job and rose to the occasion.
“He tied two other kids in terms of his overall weight lifted, but he was 152.6 in weight and there were two kids at 152 and 151.8 so Wardlow was one chicken wing overweight where he probably would have placed 15th.”
Also representing the county, Citrus seniors Justice Walker and Destin Cali left their mark. For Walker, a regional and district champion, the 183-pounder came in seeded seventh and finished there off the strength of a personal-best on the bench press with 315 and a 570 total. As for Cali, he matched his regional total of 570 to take the No. 18 spot in the state.
Meanwhile, underclassmen ’Canes Christian Solomon at unlimited and Sean Bedford at 119 exited the DeLand gymnasium at the 16 and 18 spots respectively. Sophomore Kyle Ervin at 129 scratched out on bench, while senior 169-pounder Cody Russell did the same on clean and jerks.
With five seniors leaving and three state qualifiers returning for next year, Saturday was certainly a different experience for Alexander, who had last been to the state meet in 2009 with just one lifter.
“With this, it was two flights and I had four kids per flight,” he said. “So I was here, there, kids were nervous, I had to talk them down — it was just more spread out. I’m more exhausted out of this meet. Next year, and I’m not trying to sound cocky, I plan on bringing even more kids. I plan to really make a splash — we’re looking to turn some heads.”