FPC's Myles Henderson-Baker and Richard Pham won the individual title in the 119 and 129-pound weight class, respectively, and Matanzas' Seaton Waldhauer won the title in the unlimited class.
Flagler Palm Coast boys weightlifting coach Duane Hagstrom didn’t think his team had a chance entering the district meet, not with the likes of programs like New Smyrna Beach and Spruce Creek, which have deep rosters filled with upperclassmen.
By meets end, however, Hagstrom was pleasantly shocked.
The Bulldogs, a team that features two seniors and 16 sophomores, finished fourth with a total score of 33 at the district meet on the afternoon of Friday, March 9, at FPC High School. Spruce Creek took home the title with an overall score of 59.
“Placing high has never really been even a thought for us because we’re so young,” Hagstrom said. “We’re improving every week. We’re right where we want to be going into regionals, so I’m satisfied with how we did.”
The Bulldogs had two first-place finishers: Myles Henderson-Baker won the title for the 119-pound weight class with a 250-pound bench press and a 195-pound clean-and-jerk, and Richard Pham claimed the title for the 129-pound weight class with a 270-pound bench press and a 195-pound clean-and-jerk.
Henderson-Baker, one of the team’s two seniors, almost didn’t make weight, initially weighing in at 119.6 pounds.
What did he do to drop the extra .6 pounds?
“Spit,” he said.
Henderson-Baker, who Hagstrom believes is the top lifter for the 119-pound class in the state, sucked on Jolly Ranchers and spit in a cup for an hour.
And despite an overwhelmingly young team, Hagstrom said he thinks the Bulldogs have the potential to finish in the top five in the state tournament.
“The kids are getting stronger every week,” he said. “That’s all we can ask for.”
Pirates' Waldhauer wins title for unlimited
The Pirates finished in fifth place in the district but were able to have one lifter reach the top of the podium. Matanzas' Seaton Waldhauer won the individual district title for the unlimited weight class. Waldhauer bench pressed 325 pounds and clean-and-jerked 300.