FPC's Lexi Buchanan took second, Anniel Buchanan took third and Brianna Roth finished fourth.
Lexi Buchanan gave it her all this season.
Flagler Palm Coast’s premier weightlifter was gunning for a gold medal in her senior season. Buchanan, who won gold as a sophomore, placed second behind Oviedo’s Alexis Jones in 2019.
Competing in the FHSAA Class 2A girls weightlifting state championship on Saturday, Feb. 15, at Arnold High School in Panama City Beach, Buchanan bench pressed 285 pounds and clean-and-jerked 240 pounds (525 pounds total). She finished 35 pounds short of Jones to take silver in the unlimited weight class once again.
She was a little upset at first, but she’s OK with it now.
“I feel like I put my all into it,” she said. “I did all I could to get where I am. I’m OK with it because I put my all into that meet. I left everything I had on that floor. I’m still going places.”
Buchanan pushed through a lot this season. In addition to chasing down her rival, Buchanan sustained a neck injury during a squat in early December. The bar bounced on her spine, she fell to the floor and couldn’t move. She couldn’t lift weights for about a week.
“I pushed myself this season,” she said. “I’m proud of myself and what I was able to accomplish.”
Anniel Buchanan, Lexi’s younger sister, made her first appearance at the state meet as a freshman last season, placing third.
She was hoping for at least a second-place finish this year, but things didn’t go according to plan. She benched 225 pounds, a personal best, and clean-and-jerked 190 pounds to take bronze in the 199-pound weight class. She tied Sunlake lifter Antionette Farmer for second with a 400-pound total, but Farmer edged her out due to body weight. Niceville’s Melaina Bryant won the division with a 415-pound total.
“I was definitely disappointed,” Buchanan said. “But it’s motivation for next season.”
Buchanan was contemplating moving up a weight class, but she has since decided against that. Other lifters in her division told her that they were inspired by her after seeing her compete earlier this season.
“It was shocking,” she said. “I didn't expect that. They inspired me to go harder and keep pushing, too. I’m coming for first next year.”
Brianna Roth, a senior at FPC, competed at the state level for the first time this season. The road to get there was a long one.
Roth, who lifts in the 169-pound weight class, couldn’t compete at regionals last year after she suffered a neck/head injury. When she got back to working out over the summer, she was back at square one, benching and clean-and-jerking about 90 pounds.
She set a goal of lifting 200 by the time states rolled around.
“I wanted to make a point that you can do whatever you set your mind to,” she said. “You just have to stay on the right track. That’s what I pushed for.”
Roth bench 160 and clean-and-jerked 190 to finish in fourth place — 5 pounds short of third. She said she slipped a bit mentally during the meet.
The meet was an emotional one for the seniors.
“I just wanted more time with my girls, my team, my coaches,” she said. “I wanted more time, but I can’t have it.”