- April 6, 2022
Updated April 24
Flagler Palm Coast weightlifting coach Duane Hagstrom knew his boys team had a chance to win the state championship, but everything had to land just right.
“We just had to execute and hope for a little help from some other people, and it all just happened to pan out like we planned it,” Hagstrom said.
The Bulldogs won the Class 3A state championship April 21 at Port St. Joe High School in the traditional competition, defeating second-place Niceville, 24-21.
FPC also finished third in the snatch competition. Three Bulldogs won state titles. Dom Bennett (139 pounds) and Rigens Andre (219 pounds) won traditional (bench press/clean and jerk) titles. Bennett and Nick Lilavois (119 pounds) won snatch titles.
Lilavois and Isaiah Rivers (154 pounds) finished second in the traditional competition.
In Hagstrom’s 20 years as the Bulldogs’ head coach, they have been close before — they were runners-up in 2016 — but this was the school's first state weightlifting title.
“It was definitely a very emotional day. A lot of happy tears, a lot of hugging, a lot screaming, a lot of disbelief. I still don’t think it’s sunk in yet.”
DUANE HAGSTROM, FPC weightlifting coach
“It was definitely a very emotional day,” Hagstrom said after the Bulldogs got back to school on April 22. “A lot of happy tears, a lot of hugging, a lot screaming, a lot of disbelief. I still don’t think it’s sunk in yet.”
FPC scored most of its points in the first session when the lighter weight classes lifted. In that session, Bennett won his weight class by bodyweight, tying with Niceville's Clayton Walters with a 510-pound total. Lilavois (405-pound total) and Rivers (545-pound total) finished second in their weight classes.
“We were on top of the leaderboard from the beginning,” Hagstrom said. “Three other teams jockeying for position to beat us ended up chopping each other down. When Rigens (Andre) won, it gave us the final 24 points. We knew probably with about 20 minutes left that we had won.
“If you can get on top of the leaderboard, you’re always going to have people thinking, ‘What can I do to get points?’ It helps strategy-wise.”
Andre lifted a 680-pound total to win the title over Riverview’s Max Koller by 20 pounds.
Bennett lifted 175 pounds to win the 139-pound snatch title. Lilavois lifted 150 pounds to win the 119-pound title in snatch.
Nick Groth joined Bennett and Lilavois in placing in both events. The sophomore finished seventh in the traditional competition and third in snatch in the 169-pound class.
Matanzas sophomore Cole Hash finished third in the traditional competition in the 183-pound class at the Class 2A state championships on April 22. Hash totaled 595 pounds.