INVERNESS — The boys weightlifting season may be in the early stages, but Crystal River received a nice confidence boost against a county rival on Wednesday afternoon.

Lifting versus host Citrus, the Pirates pulled out a 55-31 victory, making them winners in two of their first three meets.

“Everything including meets up until county (championship meet), we just consider those opportunities to practice, get better,” Crystal River head coach Cliff Lohrey said. “But any time you get to compete against your peers from another school and with judges other than myself, it’s just good for competitive juices as we move closer to March 17, the county meet.”

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The Pirates placed first in all but two weight classes, in one of which they did not have lifters.

Junior James Ayers bench-pressed 235 pounds and hoisted 195 in the clean-and-jerk, giving him 430 total to win by 20 over the Hurricanes’ Griffin Webb (205-205—410) at 154 pounds.

“I feel like I did pretty good. I hit a new max on bench but not for clean-and-jerk,” Ayers said. “It is what it is. Five pounds less than last week. Hopefully I’ll do more next week. I’ve got some stuff to work on.

“I think it was just motivation (on the bench), actually having someone to compete against. Cause my last two meets, they haven’t been very good. But this week there was some competition, so I think it was just the competition that pushed me.”

Ayers was among the lighter weights who lifted in the first flight, since the meet was divided in half and took place across four platforms in the Hurricanes’ weight room.

Other early winners for the Pirates included Tyler Townsend at 129 (130-135—265) and Matt Baird at 169 (190-155—345).

Crystal River then swept the second flight featuring the heavier weights. Josh Bailey placed first at 183 (225-175—400), Chris Wilson took the 199 class (275-245—520), Tommy Cavanaugh captured the top spot at 219 (295-205—500), Nathan White did the same at 238 (255-195—550) and Alex Wisnewski outperformed all the rest at unlimited with a 365-240—605.

“James Ayers just continues to make improvements. Chris Wilson has really brought a tremendous work ethic to our team,” Lohrey said. “We’ve got a number of guys, their totals are going up every week and they continue to put in work. Excited to see what we can do when county rolls around.”

Citrus, which fell to 0-2 in meets, got its two first-place showings from Tristan Morgan at 119 (150-120—270), who beat out teammate Sawyer Fernandez (85-75—160), and Frank Fernandez at 139 (205-185-390).

“The boys did good,” Citrus head coach Ryan Krueger said. “Unfortunately I was quarantined for the past 10 days, so I haven’t been here at practice. I was a little behind on their progress. But I know from the last meet and the last practice I was at, they’ve all progressed individually and that’s really what I’m all about for my team. I want to see my guys get stronger and stronger.

“Griffin (Webb) is always a standout athlete. He went a little lighter today than the last meet but he still performed pretty well. And then Frank Fernandez there, too. Both the Fernandez brothers actually. They’re always standout athletes. But all my guys, it’s a team effort and they all did well. They’re all pushing themselves individually to progress.”

In other county weightlifting action, Lecanto defeated Central on Tuesday, 57-17.

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Contact Chronicle sports reporter Chris Bernhardt at 352-563-5660, or on twitter @cpbernhardtjr.

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