NEW PORT RICHEY –
A year later, the status quo remained the same during Friday’s second annual River Ridge Invitational Girls Weightlifting Tournament sponsored by the Disparti Law Group, in New Port Richey.
A year ago at the Royal Knights’ gymnasium, River Ridge hoisted the tallest team trophy behind 11 placers (to score points, lifters had to finish among the top six in each of the 10 weight divisions) and 46 points.
On Friday, head coach Mike DeGennaro’s lifters secured a meet-high 56 points behind 15 placers.
Springstead, who also had 11 placers in 2010, finished as runner-up in 2010 with 31 points.
This time, head coach Mike Garofano’s lifters totaled 36 points behind eight placers highlighted by three champions: Julia Monzo (1st) at 101 pounds, Andrea Purvis at 199 and Farley Barnett at Unlimited; two silver medals: Sarah Costa (2nd) at 101 and Morgan Szymanski (2nd) at 139; along with Domenique Sorresso (5th) at 169, Cortney Howard (5th) at 110 and Ashleigh Ruby (6th) at 235.
Last season Land O’ Lakes-Sunlake was the third-place team in this event, tied with Belleview at 29 points.
In Friday’s 13-team event, again the Seahawks finished third by totaling 32 points.
Other Hernando County teams included Nature Coast Technical and Weeki Wachee. Neither team participated in this event a year ago.
On Friday, NCT finished tied for fifth with New Port Richey-Mitchell with 16 points, while second-year Weeki Wachee failed to score and finished 13th overall.
NCT was led by Kiana Espinal’s gold-medal efforts at 169 pounds with a 140-150—290-pound total.
The Sharks other placers featured Dana Mackiewicz (3rd) at 183, Brian Horn (4th) at 110 and Ali Mariani (5th) at unlimited.
Espinal’s efforts continued to turn heads.
“I definitely came here to get a gold medal,” explained the confident 16-year-old Espinal. “Sure, I knew it would be hard; but I gave it my all. That turned out to be enough.”
In the process, Espinal praised her diligence in the clean-and-jerk portion of the meet.
“My bench was horrible today, but my cleans definitely made the difference,” said Espinal. “Competing in a big meet like this boosts my confidence up.”
Fine night for the Lady Eagles
SHS transformed last year’s performance into its fifth straight Hernando County championship – and fourth under Coach Garofano.
“I’m happy with second,” expressed Coach Garofano, whose team is 4-0 in dual meets. “This was a competitive meet with 13 schools here. I like the fact we came home with some hardware with three gold medals and two seconds.
“Our district meet will be much like this,” he added. “This is a great environment to help our kids prepare for districts and beyond. I thought Coach DeGennaro again did a great job with his staff of running the meet. A tough meet like this really helps the girls immensely. They get to see what’s out there.
“We have to compete in meets like this to get ready for the next level,” Garofano said. “We’ve still got a lot of work ahead of us; but I’m really pleased with how we performed tonight.”
Oddly enough Friday’s trio of Eagle gold medalists each performed better than last season.
Purvis, who missed this meet last season, made her seasonal debut following a preseason neck injury.
“Even though this was my first competition of the season, I came here looking to win,” said the 16-year-old Purvis. “I really wasn’t expecting a challenge. I felt like I went light.
“As far as winning, it’s always cool to win.” smiled Purvis. “It was nice to win the first time back. I feel fine. My neck doesn’t hurt.”
Barnett, who was fourth at River Ridge in 2010, produced the meet’s second-highest total behind a 155-155-310 – matching her seasonal best.
“Today was a lot of fun,” said the 17-year-old Barnett. “The competition here really pushes you. With so many underclassmen, I felt like I was a mentor to a lot of the girls.
“It’s nice to remain unbeaten, but I know there’s always girls that are better than I am,” noted Barnett. “That drive to be the best is what drives me.”
Another unbeaten Eagle is Monzo. She and Costa posted an impressive 1-2 punch.
Monzo, a 2011 state qualifier, finished runner-up in this meet a year ago. Her total weight has gone up 30 pounds since last winter.
“Today, I did good on my bench,” noted the 18-year-old Monzo on her 120-105—225-pound total. “I came in looking to get first. So far, I feel like things are going great. Since the end of last year, I’ve worked nonstop at improving. This is my last year and I want to go out big.”
2nd annual Disparti Law Group Girls Weightlifting Invitational
at River Ridge Middle/High School in New Port Richey
Final Team Results:
1. New Port Richey-River Ridge (RR) 56, 2. Spring Hill-Springstead (SPG) 36, 3. Land O’Lakes-Sunlake (SNL) 32, 4. Inverness-Citrus (CIT) 31, 5. (tie) Brooksville-Nature Coast Technical (NCT), NPR-Mitchell (MIT) 16, 7. Lecanto (LEC) 12, 8. Hudson (HUD) 7, 9. (tie) Zephyrhills (ZEP), NPR-Ridgewood (RW) 5, 11. Hudson-Fivay (FIV) 3, 12. Bushnell-South Sumter (SS), 13. Weeki Wachee (WW) 0.
Final Individual Results: (Top 6 scores count toward team score. Points based on 7-5-4-3-2-1 system).
101 – 1. Julia Monzo (SPG) 120-105—225, 2. Sarah Costa (SPG) 95-110—205, 3. Russell (RR) 100-100—200, 4. Molina (RR) 90-100—190, 5. Arena (LEC) 80-95—175, Metzger (CIT) 90-80—170.
110 – 1. McAmis (RR) 95-130—225, 2. Rodriguez (RW) 110-110—220, 3. Travis (SNL) 95-100—195, 4. Briana Horn (NCT) 95-95—190, 5. Cortney Howard (SPG) 100-85—185, 6. LiCalsi (RR) 85-100—185.
119 – 1. Ruiz (SNL) 150-130—280, 2. Dunphy (RR) 105-125—230, 3. Magee (LEC) 115-115—230, 4. Hudson (CIT) 110-100—210, 5. Nichols (CIT) 105-100—205, 6. Chisenhall (SS) 105-95—200.
129 – 1. Bingham (CIT) 140-140—280, 2. Giordano (MIT) 150-130—280, 3. Hinson (RR) 135-135—270, 4. McDaniel (SNL) 115-145—260, 5. McIntyre (CIT) 125-125—250, 6. Gottman (RR) 115-120—235.
154 – 1. LiCalsi (RR) 150-180—330, 2. Patton (ZEP) 140-150—290, 3. Evans (CIT) 145-125—270, 4. Atkinson (LEC) 125-130—255, 5. Walling (MIT) 120-125—245, 6. Ashleigh Ruby (SPG) 125-110—235.
169 – 1. Kiana Espinal (NCT) 140-150—290, 2. Sylvester (RR) 140-145—285, 3. Gonzales (MIT) 135-135—270, 4. Banter (HUD) 135-115—250, 5. Domenique Sorresso (SPG) 125-110—235, 6. McCool (SNL) 140-95—235.
183 – 1. Dana Rousch (RR) 120-150—270, 2. Venero (CIT) 135-135—270, 3. Dana Mackiewicz (NCT) 115-150—265, 4. Thomas (LEC) 120-145—265, 5. Valdes (SNL) 115-115—230, 6. Competelli (MIT) 110-110—220.
199 – 1. Andrea Purvis (SPG) 155-140—295, 2. Tejada (SNL) 160-130—290, 3. Foster (HUD) 135-145—280, 4. Neptune (MIT) 120-135—255, 5. Kelleher (CIT) 125-125—250, 6. Day (RR) 115-130—245.
UNL – 1. Farley Barnett (SPG) 155-155—310, 2. Evers (SNL) 160-145—305, 3. Frances (SNL) 140-140—280, 4. Gonzales (MIT) 150-125—275, 5. Ali Mariani (NCT) 130-135—265, 6. Nelson (CIT) 140-115—255.