Several Bulldogs girls weightlifters have their sights set on a state title this season.
Lexi Buchanan came so close to winning her second state title in a row in February 2019.
The Flagler Palm Coast weightlifter, who won the Class 2A championship in the unlimited weight class as a sophomore in 2018, was 30 pounds short of Oviedo’s Alexis Jones’ 515-pound total.
Buchanan did not only return home with a silver medal. She returned with a renewed purpose to never be defeated again. Her senior year is a state title or bust.
“It’s hard because people expected a lot of me last year,” she said of her finish at last year’s state weightlifting meet. “But it's fueled me because I want to reclaim what’s mine.”
The Bulldogs’ girls weightlifting team graduated several talented lifters from last season, including state-placer Anisa Zwolinski.
The Bulldogs have 21 girls on the roster this season. Fourteen of them are first-time lifters. But the Bulldogs, who finished second to New Smyrna Beach in FPC’s senior night meet on Wednesday, Dec. 4, are continuing to see progress.
“We’re putting a lot more time in than we have in the past,” Bulldogs head coach Duane Hagstrom said. “I’m happy with our progress. We’ve been working hard, but we still have a long way to go.”
The Bulldogs have seven veterans in addition to Buchanan, who are more than capable of placing at states, including twins Jasmine Hattani and Nadia Hattani.
Anniel Buchanan (Lexi Buchanan's younger sister), a freshman who didn’t lift weights prior to thigh school, benched pressed 190 pounds and clean-and-jerked 170 pounds in the 199-pound weight class at the 2019 state meet. She missed two of her lifts — one on bench and one on clean-and-jerk — and ended up 30 pounds behind Niceville’s Melaina Bryant for a bronze medal finish.
She, like her sister, has her sights set on nothing short of gold.
“I just have to push harder now," she said. “We have to work as a team and encourage each other. That’s going to help us in the long run.”