Regional bound

Lady Bulldog lifters seeking regional three-peat

Zephyrhills hoisted the Class 2A District 9 trophy for the third consecutive year while claiming three individual titles. The Lady Bulldogs will advance 16 of 18 lifters to the Regional championship meet for a spot in the FHSAA Class 2A state meet.

Zephyrhills’ lifters put together a strong performance with 69 points and outdistancing Nature Coast Tech with 59 points. Springstead was third with 41 points, Pasco was fourth with32 points, Lake Minneola was fifth with 19 and Wesley Chapel was sixth with one point.

Claiming individual gold for the Bulldogs were senior Madison Aguilera at 139 pounds to claim another district crown. She dominated her weight class by with combined bench press and clean and jerk of 315 pounds. The second-place finisher lifted 250 pounds. Aguilera finished fourth in the Class 2A state meet last season.

Sophomore Autumn Spoon ran away with her 183-pound weight class with a combined lift of 325 pounds, 70-pounds better than the second-place lifter.

Senior Diamond Cowart captured the unlimited class with a 360-pound total with a 190-pound bench press and a 175-pound clean and jerk.

It was fitting that the Bulldogs hosted the meet and honored its seniors before the first lifts of the night. Joining their parents for a fitting tribute were seniors Lauren Vo, Aleah Killebrew, Hailey Cameron, Samantha Wilkes, Barbara VonKlock, Aguilera, and Cowart.

“Lauren and Madison have been with this program for four years and they came all the way through together,” said coach Joe Rinaldo. Diamond came to us last year from Citrus and made an immediate impact.

“We’re losing a lot of leadership. To come this far and do as well as we’ve had this season, with the losses we suffered last year, this team is as good as it could possibly be. I’m impressed with their leadership and they are why we are in the position we are in right now.”

While the leadership was a key, the effort of the remaining senior helped put the Bulldogs on top.

“Aleah, Hailey, Sammy and Barbara have played a key role for this team and we could not be where we are without each one of them. They are a special group.”

Along with three district titles, Zephyrhills has won back-to-back regional crowns with a shot at a three-peat Friday at the Region 3 meet at Weeki Wachee.

Representing the Bulldogs at regionals are Payton Leidy and Makayla Compton (101 pounds), Kaylin Miller (110), Sharibel Vazquez (119), Lauren Vo, Aleah Killebrew (129), Madison Aguilera (139), Haven Queen, Kylie Grishaber (154), Samantha Wilkes, Isabella Patrias (169), Autumn Spoon, Hailey Cameron (183), Kennedy Arnot (199), Diamond Cowart and Briana Padron (UNL).

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