- April 26, 2022
Dom Bennett wasn't worried about the regional title.
The prize the FPC senior has been targeting since last year is the state boys weightlifting championship.
"I've been training like crazy," said the Bulldogs' 138-pounder, who was the state runner-up in the 129-pound class at last year's Class 3A state championships.
Bennett broke two school records this year in his new weight class. He didn't win the regional title in the traditional bench press/clean and jerk lifts, because he didn't attempt a third clean and jerk.
"We only did two clean and jerks and stopped," FPC coach Duane Hagstrom said. "We wanted to keep others guessing."
Bennett is one of 10 FPC lifters who have qualified for the the 3A state championships April 21 at Port St. Joe High School. Bennett, Nick Lilavois, Rigens Andre, Nick Groth and Tommy Desantoli qualified in both the traditional and snatch competitions. Five other Bulldogs are headed to state in one of the competitions.
"We'll definitely have several on the podium if we do what we need to do," Hagstrom said.
Bennett won the Region 1-3A snatch title with a 165-pound lift. Nick Lilavois won the 119-pound snatch title and finished second in the traditional lifts. Rigens Andre won the 219-pound traditional title and also qualified for state in the snatch competition. Nick Groth and Tommy Desantoli also qualified in both competitions.
Isaiah Rivers (second, 154 pounds) and Wood Registe (sixth, 183 pounds) qualified in the traditional competition. Ron Proctor (183 pounds), Charlie Perry (238 pounds) and Kobe Murphy (unlimited) qualified in the snatch lift.
The Bulldogs hosted half of the regional on April 9, and Bennett received first-place sub-regional medals in both competitions. When the other sub-regional results were posted, Bennett was second in the region in bench/clean and jerk with a 495 total. Clayton Walters of Niceville won the region title with a 520 total.
Bennett's school record is 515 pounds. He's not worried about the competition at Port St. Joe.
"I don't pay attention to anybody else, as long as I'm doing better than I did yesterday. I just try to be as good as I can be. I'm focusing on my lifts."
"I don't pay attention to anybody else, as long as I'm doing better than I did yesterday," he said. "I just try to be as good as I can be. I'm focusing on my lifts."
"Be all you can be," is a former advertising slogan for the U.S. Army, and Bennett serves in the Army National Guard. Last summer, he had to take a break from weightlifting while participating in basic combat training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
"They didn't have this kind of weight training, just calisthenics and cardio. But it helped with my mentality. It helped me get a harder drive," Bennett said.
Rivers also medaled at state last year with a fifth-place finish. He lost the regional bench/clean and jerk title on body weight after tying regional champ David Izquierdo of Lyman with a 545-pound total. Andre, meanwhile, won the title on body weight after finishing in a tie with Creekside's Tanner Owens with a 660-pound total.
The Bulldogs won the sub-regional snatch title and finished second in the traditional competition. In the overall regional standings, FPC was third in snatch and fourth in the traditional lifts. High finishes in Region 1 are a good indicator of a high finish at state. Five of the top seven teams at state last year were from Region 1.