Bulldogs eye conference championship after latest win over Matanzas
Going into Flagler Palm Coast’s girls weightlifting meet against Matanzas, the Bulldogs’ Anisa Zwolinski set a goal to clean-and-jerk 180 pounds. Earlier in the meet, she lifted 150 pounds over her head with ease.
With a single grunt, the 155-pound Zwolinski powered through to meet her goal. After it was over, her teammates and coaches mauled her with hugs: Zwolinski had set the school record for the clean-and-jerk in the 169-pound weight class.
Zwolinski, who is only a junior, is also on FPC’s girls basketball team.
“She was already at basketball practice earlier today, too,” Hagstrom said. “She was doing that fatigued.”
Behind the efforts of Zwolinski as well as several other Bulldogs, FPC took down Matanzas 68-42 on the afternoon of Thursday, Nov. 30, at Flagler Palm Coast High School. In the unlimited weight class, the Bulldogs’ Lexi Buchanan posted a bench press of 230 pounds, and the Pirates’ Chiara Longo was second with 160 pounds.
Hagstrom said he feels this year is the best opportunity one of his teams have had to win its conference meet. The Five Star Conference Championship will be held the afternoon of Dec. 20 at Flagler Palm Coast High School.
The Bulldogs have never won the conference before.
“We’ve been talking about it all year,” Hagstrom said. “We work really hard, and I think if we just keep getting better each week, by the time it gets here, I think we’ll be pretty hard to beat that day.”
Going into the season, Hagstrom set the bar high for his team: They were going to win conference, districts and regionals, and then place in the top three at the state championship.
As for Zwolinski, even after her record-breaking performance against the Pirates, her focus was already on the next meet.
“This was a good warmup,” she said. “But I want a state championship.”
Matanzas sophomore Mary-Claire Leonard was always a shy girl. But when she joined the Pirates’ girls weightlifting team her freshman year, she felt something she had never felt before.
“Being a part of this team is everything to me,” Leonard, now a sophomore at the school, said. “It helped me build my confidence up. It helped me be me. It helped me really come out of my shell.”
Leonard, who participates in the unlimited weight class, bench pressed 120 pounds and clean-and-jerked 130 pounds in the Pirates’ meet against crosstown rival Flagler Palm Coast.
And despite the Bulldogs’ win, Leonard said she couldn’t be happier with the team she’s on.
“I feel very loved on this team,” she said. “This is my second family. We’re going to get stronger and make it to states.”