Lexi and Anniel Buchanan will be lifting in the state meet on Feb. 8 at Arnold High School in Panama City Beach.
Anniel Buchanan still remembers watching her older sister, Flagler Palm Coast sophomore Lexi Buchanan, lift in the Class 2A state weightlifting championship on Feb. 3, 2018, in Panama City Beach.
She remembers the massive crowd that packed into the gym at Arnold High School. She remembers seeing her sister clean-and-jerk 175 pounds on her final attempt to beat Oviedo’s Alexi Jones by 5 points. And, most importantly, she remembers seeing Lexi standing on the podium, sporting a gold medal around her neck.
A spark went off inside Anniel, who was in the eighth grade at the time.
“I wanted to become a part of the Buchanan legacy,” she said.
The Buchanans have a history lifting for the Bulldogs. It started with the oldest, Charles Buchan- an, who graduated in 2011, and Jahmari Buchanan, who graduated in 2017. Lexi was the first—and only — sibling to win a state title.
Anniel, 15, is a now a freshman at FPC. She started weightlifting the summer before school started. She had one goal in mind: making it to the state meet.
However, she weighed 234 pounds in the summer and could only bench press and clean-and-jerk 100 pounds, each. She had to cut weight — and get stronger.
“It’s awesome to see my little sister doing this. She’s on top of what she has to do all the time. I’m proud.”
FPC lifter Lexi Buchanan
In addition to spending hours per day in the weight room, she drank Herbalife shakes and green tea to help lose weight. She did cardio exercises every night before she went to bed.
She lifted in the unlimited weight class for the entire regular season. But by the time she stepped onto the scale at weigh-ins for the district meet, she was at 195.
Anniel won the district meet on Jan. 15, and with a 180-pound bench press and a 165-pound clean-and-jerk, won the regional meet on Jan. 24. On Feb. 8, she’ll step onto the platform at Arnold High School to lift in the state meet.
The dream she’s had since the eighth grade was achieved.
“I was excited to win regionals, but I’m nervous because it’ll be my first time there,” Anniel said. “Watching Lexi last year, I know it’s going to be hectic.”
When Lexi thinks about her younger sister’s success she feels happy — and a twinge of annoyance.
“She’s doing more than what I did my freshman year,” Lexi said with a smile. “But it’s still awesome to see my little sister doing this. She’s on top of what she has to do all the time. I’m proud.”
The two siblings have pushed each other throughout this season. They’re always in competition, according to Bulldogs weightlifting coach Duane Hagstrom.
“Anniel has her sights set on beating everything that her sister’s done,” he said.
Hagstrom believes that Lexi, who will be gunning for her second-straight state title this season, is too far ahead at this point in time. But as Anniel gets older, the gap will shrink.
The idea of siblings with multiple state championships is a real possibility.
“She started it all,” Anniel said of Lexi. “With her graduating next year, it’s going to be all up to me. We’re making a legacy together for the Buchanans.”