Nguyen, Baker win lift titles

By Randy Lefko
Posted 4/11/18

PANAMA CITY BEACH – Fleming Island High senior Tyler Nguyen and Oakleaf High senior Jakobie Baker both returned home with Class 2A weightlifting titles after Saturday’s championship meet held at …

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Nguyen, Baker win lift titles


PANAMA CITY BEACH – Fleming Island High senior Tyler Nguyen and Oakleaf High senior Jakobie Baker both returned home with Class 2A weightlifting titles after Saturday’s championship meet held at Arnold High School in Panama City Beach.

Nguyen won in the 154 pound division with Baker taking the title in the 199 pound division.

Nguyen, the district and region champion with unofficial record-setting performances, continued his onslaught on records with his 645 pound total at the state meet.

“I lifted 335 at the district meet which was better than the state record, but not official because only state meet lifts are recorded as records,” said Nguyen, who clean and jerked 330 to set a new Florida record. “This was the work of four years to get to this day.”

Nguyen dominated the field with a 315 bench press that distanced him by 25 pounds from runner Trevor Grilley of New Smyrna Beach before blasting the field with the record-setting 330 pound clean and jerk for the win. Grilley clean and jerked just 605 pounds. In 2017, Nguyen finished second with a 605 total with Grilley eighth at 540.

“Coach Nosse (Craig Nosse, Fleming Island weighlift coach) and I sat down after districts and regions and looked at the numbers and had a good feeling about how things might go,” said Nguyen, who was unsure of his weightlifting future despite also being the Florida Olympic Lift champion and record holder. “Walking into the gym I only thought about how many 4 a.m. workouts, afternoon workouts, diet restrictions and all the thought processes to getting to that point had prepared me and it was just time to execute with no mistakes.”

Nguyen noted that he attempted a 340 pound lift on his final attempt.

“I had it nearly perfect, but my feet were not able to get set,” said Nguyen.

Also in 154, Fleming Island’s D.J. Pimienta finished fifth with a 525 total with Middleburg’s Tanner Nobles taking seventh at 515 pounds.

For Baker, the 690 pound total at 199 came via a decisive clean and jerk after he and runnerup William Davis of Lake Region High both had 375 pound bench presses.

“He had not done more than 280 all season and I opened at 300 to scare him,” said Baker. “He went for 305 and missed and I went 315 for the win. I went for 330, but I was already content to win and the adrenalin was gone.”

In the clean and jerk, Baker commanded the win with a 315 lift to beat out Davis’ 280 pound clean and jerk.

“Jakobie hit 315 for the win, tried 330 for the elusive 700 total, but wasn’t in the right mindset because the competition was won,”said Arthur. “If he had to hit 330 to win, I think he would have. Overall, a great season and comeback from a bad knee injury over the summer.”

Bartram Trail’s Jackson Durden had a 305 clean and jerk, but only managed a 320 bench press to finish third with a 625 total. Oakleaf’s Demonte Richmond totaled 265 after failing to land a clean and jerk lift.

Baker was fourth in 2017 in the 183 pound division with a 640 total.

In Class 2A, won by Spruce Creek with 26 points, Fleming Island finished fifth with nine points with Oakleaf seventh with seven points.

“In my 10 years coaching this sport, I’ve never seen so many record lift attempts and records set as this year,” said Arthur.

In other weight classes; at 129, Oakleaf’s Ethan Gustilo, totaled 455 for seventh behind leader Josh Hibbard of New Smyrna Beach’s 575.

“Just like in wrestling, Ethan was a fairly new athlete to the sport and, if he had a year or two more to train, he’d be unbeatable,” said Arthur. “He’s a natural athlete.”

At 169, Middleburg’s Andrew Thomas totaled 525 to place 10th to winner Vincent Sneed of Spruce Creek’s 650 pounds.

At 183, Fleming Island High senior Jackson Bull did not lift due to a hand injury. At 119, Fleming Island’s Ian Ali scratched on the clean and jerk and Oakleaf’s Mike Williams finished 10th with a best total of 350.

At 238, Oakleaf’s Tayari Otis, the region champion, was injured in the clean and jerk and withdrew.


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