After notching wins in both traditional and Olympic lifts for her weight class at the FHSAA State Championships, MHS sophomore Justice Lee is Monroe County’s first female dual gold medalist in girls weightlifting.

Six of the Middle Keys’ strongest ladies were riding in style after the long weekend, delivered to Marathon High School on the morning of Feb. 20 to balconies full of cheering teachers and classmates by Marathon Fire Rescue and MCSO officials. Hailing from a small island with a skyrocketing statewide reputation in girls weightlifting, Justice Lee, Sierra Earnhardt, Ella Dunn, Sabrina Schofield, Ayme Maradiaga and Mikkel Ross returned from the 2024 FHSAA State Championships in Lakeland with four pieces of hardware for MHS. Earnhardt finished the meet as a bronze medalist in the 119-lb. weight class for Olympic lifts, while Dunn earned a fifth-place medal in the same category for the 101-lb. weight class – and just barely missed out on a second medal with a seventh-place finish for traditional lifts.

And with a performance that topped her lifts in regional competition by 10 pounds in both the snatch and clean and jerk, plus a bench press that broke her own personal record in competition, sophomore phenom Lee became the first dual state champion in Monroe County girls weightlifting history. A 135-pound snatch, combined with a school-record 190-pound clean and jerk and 175-pound bench press, secured double golds for Lee in both traditional and Olympic lifts for the 183-lb. weight class.

The Dolphins’ state medalists step off the fire truck to be greeted by hundreds of their classmates.
Marathon weightlifting coach Jessie Schubert praises the efforts of not only his state medalists, but also the entire team throughout the 2023-24 season.
Marathon’s state-qualifying lifters and coaches tip their cap to trustee Mike Puto and the Katharine S. Gradick Girls Athletic Trust, which supports travel and other expenses for the Lady Fins throughout the year.
The Lady Fins’ state-qualifying lifters, coaches and city officials get ready to load the fire trucks for a victory parade.
Alex Rickert
Alex Rickert made the perfectly natural career progression from dolphin trainer to newspaper editor in 2021 after freelancing for Keys Weekly while working full time at Dolphin Research Center. A resident of Marathon since 2015, he fell in love with the Florida Keys community by helping multiple organizations and friends rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Irma. An avid runner, actor, and spearfisherman, he spends as much of his time outside of work on or under the sea having civil disagreements with sharks.