a series of photos of a man in a wrestling suit

Coral Shores and Marathon had highly successful seasons in boys weightlifting this year. Coral Shores finished their district competitions by taking third place as a team in Olympic weightlifting and fourth in traditional, while Marathon claimed the district runner-up trophies in both categories and went on to secure third in traditional lifting at regionals. Between the two teams, Monroe County earned nine district titles and sent three athletes to the state event, where one lifter from each team finished in the top 10. Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the accomplishments is that a majority of the athletes will return next season stronger and ready to claim more hardware. Congratulations to the 2024 All-Keys Boys Weightlifting Team.

a man with his arms crossed standing in front of a poster

Lifter of the Year
AJ Johnson
Senior, Coral Shores 
219 pounds

Coral Shores strongman AJ Johnson was the only Keys lifter to qualify for the state championship in both styles of lifting. The senior finished in eighth place in Olympic lifting, the top finisher in the county. The double district champ added a silver regional medal in Olympic lifts and bronze in traditional. Johnson is praised for his teamwork as much as his hard work in the weightroom.

a man in a wrestling suit posing for a picture

Tanner Ross
Junior, Marathon 
199 pounds

Tanner Ross earned double district championship medals and went on to finish fourth at regionals in Olympic lifts, qualifying him for the state championships. Ross finished ninth there and continues to work hard in the weight room for his upcoming senior season.

a man standing on a wooden floor holding two black dumbs

Chase Leird
Junior, Marathon 
119 pounds

After a productive offseason, Marathon’s Chase Leird earned himself two district gold medals. He secured a spot at the state championships in traditional lifts after winning bronze at regionals. 

a man holding a hammer and a large chain

Max Childress
Sophomore, Marathon 
183 pounds

Marathon’s Max Childress secured gold medals at districts in both lifting events and then earned a silver regional medal in traditional and bronze in Olympic lifts. Just a sophomore, Childress was just 10 pounds away from a state championship nod. 

a man holding two dumbs while standing in front of a backdrop

Damian Stasiewicz
Junior, Marathon 
154 pounds

Dolphin 154-pounder Damian Stasiewicz brought home a pair of silver medals from districts, competing against one of the top lifters in the state. He then earned a bronze at regionals in traditional and a fourth place in Olympic lifts. 

a man standing on a wooden floor with his hands behind his head

Matthias Martinez-Velez
Sophomore, Marathon 
139 pounds

With two seasons of eligibility remaining, sophomore Matthias Martinez-Velez wasted no time making a name for himself in weightlifting. Martinez-Velez brought home a silver medal from districts in traditional lifting, then did the same at regionals, where he came within a few places of qualifying for the state meet. 

a man is lifting a barbell in a gym

Xavier Johnson
Sophomore, Coral Shores 
183 pounds

Coral Shores’ Xavier Johnson claimed a pair of bronze medals at districts, showing promise in both the Olympic and traditional events. With two seasons of eligibility remaining, Johnson has plenty of potential to make a showing at states in the near future.

a man with a chain around his neck holding a baseball bat

Braulio Garcia
Junior, Marathon 
238 pounds

Braulio Garcia won a district championship in traditional lifts, then placed sixth at regionals. Since competing there, the hard-working junior has added 35 pounds to his bench press, making his senior campaign one full of great expectations.

a man in a wrestling stance on a wooden floor

Eduardo Garcia 
Sophomore, Marathon 
238 pounds

Sophomore Eduardo Garcia captured a bronze medal at districts in traditional lifts and silver in Olympic. He went on to finish ninth at regionals in Olympic lifts. Just a sophomore, Garcia looks promising for a repeat or better in Olympic next season and has already added to his bench to enhance his traditional event scoring as well.

a man in a green and yellow wrestling suit

Zane Rindom
Junior, Coral Shores 
219 pounds

Coral Shores’ Zane Rindom was fourth in the district in traditional lifts and fifth in Olympic. His Olympic total qualified him for regionals, where he placed ninth in the event. The talented junior has everything it takes to go even further in his senior campaign. 

Tracy McDonald
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.