LIVE OAK — Even a knee injury and questionable rules infraction called against her couldn’t keep Kennedi Blevins from another gold medal.
The Citrus High senior added the Class 2A girls weightlifting 139-pound title Saturday at Suwannee High School, to the 1A championship she claimed least season at the same weight class.
Also placing from the county were Lecanto junior Allison Wilson, third at 129, and junior Rebecca Tatun of Citrus, sixth at 154.
Blevins benched 195 pounds and hit 160 in the clean and jerk for a winning total of 355, 35 pounds ahead of runner-up Madison Upshaw of Mosley.
"I knew I was going to have to hit some pretty big lifts. I knew I was going to be able to hit top three, but I didn’t necessarily expect to win," Blevins said. "It was exciting. I didn’t want to win one and not the next. I knew what my expectations were, so I just had to come in and hit my numbers."
It could have been even more of a difference between first and second place if Blevins wasn’t called for taking too much time on her final bench press attempt of 200 pounds.
It turned out to be just a minor issue, as Blevins led by 35 pounds after the bench and no one got any closer to her during the clean and jerk.
"I focus a lot on my bench. I know a lot of girls can clean more than they can bench. So I just try to get as much of a lead as I can and do what I need to do on the clean and jerk," Blevins said.
The real issue for Blevins — much like during her sophomore season when she finished second in 1A at 139 — was a knee injury that kept her from lifting as much as normal in the clean and jerk. Despite the pain you could see on her face on every lift, she still managed to complete all three lifts Saturday to earn title No. 2.
"It’s a new injury, but we just pushed through to get to the end of the season," she said.
For Lecanto’s Wilson, it was the completion of a goal set after finishing one spot off the medal stand last season.
The Lecanto three-time state qualifier benched 160 and raised 170 in the clean and jerk Saturday for a bronze medal total of 330. That tied her with Madison Gosselin of Lake Wales, but Wilson took third and Gosselin fourth based on body weight.
"Amazing. Higher than I expected, so I’m really happy with it. Exactly how it ended up was best case," Wilson said. "I knew there were two girls way above me that I just couldn’t chase, so I knew I had to battle it out for third place."
Sana Habib of Arnold easily won the 129-pound title with a total of 400, followed by Samantha Sineath of Port Charlotte with a 345.
Wilson said she usually pays attention to what her competition is doing, but took a different attitude into this meet.
"Normally I would. This year I wanted to try something a little different," she said. "I came in with my numbers in mind and I just hit them and was going to see where it got me. I guess it worked out pretty well.
"We changed up my training a lot and I came in a lot more confident than I did the past two years."
The Panther now has a new goal in mind for her senior season.
"Next year the goal is first. And I’m thinking of going up a weight class," she said.
This was the second medal in three trips to state for Tatun, who finished fifth in 1A at 139 a year ago. She qualified as a freshman at 129, along with Lecanto’s Wilson.
On Saturday, the Hurricane junior set personal bests in both the bench (160) and clean and jerk (190), for a 350 total.
"I went out and did exactly what I wanted today," she said. "Both my bench and my clean and jerk were new PR’s, along with my total."
Also competing at state but not placing was Lecanto senior Anjli Deven at 101. She benched 90 and lifted 85 in the clean and jerk for a 175 total.