Suwannee hosted the District Weightlifting Championships Wednesday, March 24 in the SHS gym. For the second year in a row, after a five-year drought, the Bulldogs took home the District Championship. The district was different this year. Last year Suwannee competed with Santa Fe, Lafayette, Ft. White and Union County for the district tile. This year, the Dogs had to compete against Santa Fe again, Hamilton County and Ft. White was in the Dogs' district again.
Ft. White placed second, making them runners-up behind the Bulldogs. Last year Santa Fe took the runner-up position. They were third this year.
Suwannee had four individual District Champions. Damiona Gillyard, Michael Wright, Eric Wright and Charles "Butterbean" Wooten all took home the championship. Eric Wright and Wooten both repeated. This is the second year in a row these two lifters won the district.
Suwannee scored a total of 58 points to take the first place position. Ft. White scored 42, Santa Fe 38 and Hamilton County scored nine points.
The meet was exciting, punctuated by many great individual efforts and a feeling of team support among the Suwannee lifters. Weightlifting is scored on an individual basis as well as by teams.
The four schools filled the gym in five separate weight stations. Each weight station had to handle two weight classes. There were two different events, the bench press and the clean and jerk. Coaches, non-participating members of the weightlifting team, students and teachers helped out manning the weight stations with scorekeepers and supervisory personnel. It was a fun and exciting event with lots of noise as team members and fans urged the lifters to do their best.
Dalton Kurtz placed second lifting 125 on the bench and 140 in the clean and jerk for a total of 265.
Brian Campbell placed second lifting 200 on the bench and 165 in the clean and jerk for a total of 365.
Joe Kelly placed fifth lifting 160 on the bench and 165 in the clean and jerk for a total of 325.
Damiona Gillyard took the championship lifting 250 on the bench and 225 in the clean and jerk for a total of 425. Last year Gillyard placed second in this class.
Nick Beck took second with 260 lifted on the bench and 265 in the clean and jerk for a total of 525.
Alan Clayton took third lifting 240 on the bench, 250 in the clean and jerk for a total of 490.
Greg Gabey took third with 265 on the bench and a clean and jerk of 275 for a total lifted of 540.
Seth Shaw placed fourth with 250 on the bench and 250 in the clean and jerk for a total of 500.
Matt Douglas took third lifting 330 on the bench and 210 in the clean and jerk for a total of 540.
Eric Wright took the championship for the second year in a row with 300 lifted on the bench and 295 lifted in the clean and jerk for a total of 595, 20 pounds more than second place lifted. Wright lifted only 520 total pounds last year to take the championship. This year he bettered that amount by 75 pounds.
Michael Wright, a sophomore, took the championship with a lift on the bench of 295 and in the clean and jerk a lift of 275 for a total of 570.
Kris Kearns took second. This is only Kearns first year competing in weightlifting. Kearns lifted 280 on the bench and 250 in the clean and jerk for a total of 530.
Charles "Butterbean" Wooten took the championship for the second year in a row. Wooten has an unorthodox lifting style. He calls on the support of the other lifters and they supply it. Wooten lifted 425 on the bench and 325 in the clean and jerk for a massive total of 750. Wooten tried for 440 in the bench press but couldn't make the lift. Last year Wooten took the title as well lifting 700 pounds. Wooten set the school record last year and broke it this year setting a new one at this district meet.
Suwannee lifters will be competing against Columbia this afternoon in the Suwannee High weightlifting room. Come watch Butterbean try for 440 on the bench again. The Dogs will also be competing in the Sectional Meet at Suwannee High on April 9 at 10 a.m. This is a huge meet with 16 schools present last year when the Dogs took the sectional title home. It's the state qualifier. Come out and support the strongmen of Suwannee as they try to qualify for state and bring another sectional title home. Go Dogs!