Elise Dolton

Girls weightlifting officially opened for regular competition in Florida on Oct. 30, and two Keys teams wasted no time getting the first meet under their weight belts, as Marathon traveled to Tavernier to compete with Coral Shores on Nov. 1. Both teams produced strong early-season lifts, but the Dolphins edged out the Hurricanes 46-32 in Olympic lifts and 44-39 in traditional. 

Olympic lifting combines weight totals for the clean and jerk plus the snatch lift, while traditional lifting combines clean and jerk with bench press. Coral Shores’ Mallory Hughes won the traditional lifting event in the 101-pound class, while Rachel Rusch won both events in the 110-pound class. Marathon’s Elizabeth Vanderlee and Coral Shores’ Leticia Lima split the 119-pound division, with Vanderlee winning Olympic style and Lima winning traditional. Marathon’s Sierra Earnhardt, Cami Wrinn, Marquisha Abraham and Sabrina Schofield were all dual winners in their weight classes, while Grace Patterson, Jenille Arias and Sydney Eisenbach were dual winners for the Hurricanes. 

Eisenbach had the highest bench press of the afternoon, putting up 125 pounds. Teammate Arias’ 125-pound clean and jerk was the high score of the day in that event. Eisenbach and Arias tied for the top snatch score, each lifting 105 pounds.

Marathon is without several top returners, including state qualifiers Mikkel Ross and Ella Dunn, who are still in the running for cross country regionals, and Justice Lee Isom, who is finishing out her football season before returning to the weightlifting team. 

Dolphin coach Jessie Schubert was the first to bring weightlifting to Monroe County, and he is confident this season could be the best yet. 

“We’re all really excited about the season and the girls are looking promising,” he said after meet number one was complete. 

Keys lifters were to meet again Nov. 8, this time at Marathon. Results were not available at press time.

Tracy McDonald fled to the Keys from the frozen mountains of Pennsylvania hours after graduating from college and never looked back. She is a second generation coach and educator, and has taught in the public school system for over 25 years. She and her husband met at a beginning teacher meeting in 1997 and have three children born and raised in Monroe County. In her free time, McDonald loves flea markets, historical fiction and long runs in the heat.