Six Bulldogs won gold on Saturday, Feb. 1.
Flagler Palm Coast’s Brianna Roth wasn’t at the regional girls weight lifting meet last season. She was injured. She cheered her team on through the pain she was enduring.
“It was the worst,” she said. “Fighting through that was so hard.”
One of the people who helped her get through that time was former FPC lifter Victoria Aldridge. Aldridge was Roth’s workout partner when Roth was a sophomore.
In her final high school season, Roth, who competes in the 169-pound weight class, advanced to the 2019-20 regional meet, held Saturday, Feb. 1, at FPC High School — and won it.
She bench pressed 160 pounds and clean-and-jerked 180 pounds to beat out Bartram Trail’s Sophia Lomax, who had a 315-pound total.
When Roth hopped up onto the podium to accept her gold medal, she had her phone in-hand. On the screen was Aldridge, who now lives in a different state, there to see the moment Roth worked so hard to achieve.
“The emotions just hit so hard,” said Roth, who will be lifting in her first state meet on Saturday, Feb. 15. “I just needed her to be there for me.”
Roth was one of six Bulldogs lifters to win a gold medal at the regional meet. Rosa Aryonnah won the 101, Tarannik Lilianna won the 154, Nadia Hattani won the 183, Anniel Buchanan won the 199 and Lexi Buchanan won the unlimited weight class. FPC won the team title.
“I don’t think we had our best meet ever,” Bulldogs head coach Duane Hagstrom said. “We had our ups and downs. We did some good things and some bad things.”
Hagstrom changed up his team’s strategy entering this year’s meet. He kept them from knowing the results of opposing lifters. He wanted to keep them from being overconfident.
“I think mentally they were more prepared,” he said. “They trained harder. I think that if you let them know what their competition is, and they see that they’re head and shoulders above them, they might slack on training a little bit.”
The Class 2A state meet begins the morning of Saturday, Feb. 15, at Arnold High School. Hagstrom believes his team will do some damage.
“We’re going to be right there in the conversation if we do what we’re capable of,” he said.
As for Lexi Buchanan, who is coming off her third-straight regional title, can almost feel the gold medal around her neck. She finished second at the meet last year (and won the title her sophomore season).
“I just have to focus and push myself just a little bit more,” she said. “I can feel it coming toward me. It’s coming home to me and I want it so badly.”