Girls weightlifting: Battles happy to be back to help Lake Wales grab 2 district titles
DAVENPORT -- Hannah Battles is expected to be an impact player for the Lake Wales softball team in its bid to return to the final four for the second straight year, but she already is making an impact in girls weightlifting this winter since her return to Lake Wales.
Battles was one of five Lake Wales lifters who won their weight classes in both the Traditional and Olympic competitions on Saturday as Lake Wales dominated the Class 2A, District 11 girls weightlifting meet at Davenport High School.
Lake Wales won the district title in the Traditional competition for the fourth year in a row and was a double district winner for the second year in a row. The Highlanders won the Olympic competition this year. Last year, it was just the snatch.
"That was the goal," Lake Wales coach Tashawn Williams said. "We're just trying to stay consistent with our approach. With this group, we feel we have a group that can contend in the state, especially in Traditional, and we did a good job of showing that today. We had a few bumps in the road, but we'll go back to practice and clean it up."
The Highlanders finished with 96 points in the Traditional events o beat runner-up Auburndale by 57 points, and they scored 87 points in the Olympic events to beat runner-up Auburndale by 43 points. The Bloodhound crowned three district champions in each competition.
Battles has come back strong since her return this season. Last year, she did not participate on athletics at Lake Wales as she spent part of the year at the Collegiate High School.
"I came back," she said. "I have too much love for the city, the school, the people. I had to come back. I was missing it bad."
Battles dominated her weight class. She finished with a total lift of 315 pounds in Traditional. Teammate Isabelle Updike was second with 285 pounds. In Olympic, she totaled 280 pounds. Updike was second with 235 pounds.
Battles couldn't be happier to be back part of the team.
"This is the best group of girls I've been with," she said. "I'll never forget about this team. They have helped me so much. At the beginning of the season, I was in a dark place, and they just pulled me out of it. And I couldn't ask for better coaches."
Williams called her the most improved. Battles said she would be lifting more this year had she not been away for a year, but she still his happy with with where she is at and is glad to be helping her team.
In four of the the five weight classes that they won in the Traditional competition, the Highlanders went 1-2. Majesta Arnold won at 101 with Aliza Khan second, Kayden Arliss won at 154 with Sharon Parker second, and Lydia Denton and Arian Pizarro went 1-2 at 169 pounds. The same lifters went 1-2 in the Olympic competition except at 154 where Paker did not place.
The other district winner from Lake Wales was Anniah Styles, who won at 119 pounds in both competitions. Natayvia Ingram was second in both events at unlimited, and in Traditional, Lake Wales picked up second-place finishes from Dyani Martinez (110), Athena Tanasa (129), Alex Cross (183) and Jennifer Morales (199). Martinez, Cross and Morales all took third in their respective weight classes in Olympic.
"I'm expecting at least 16 to 18 to advance to regionals," Williams said.
Arliss was the top lifter in the competition in both Traditional and Olympic. She finished with total lifts of 395 pounds and 330 pounds.
"We were just putting up numbers to get to regionals," Arliss said.
For Auburndale, Kathryn Pruitt (110), Kaylor Dudney (183) and De'Asia Abrams (unlimited) all came away with two district titles. Madison Newbern, the day after helping the Auburndale girls soccer team beat Lake Wales in district soccer on Friday, finished runner-up twice, and Haleigh Bradley came away with second- and third-place finishes. Newbern will go on to tennis in the spring, while Bradley is headed to softball.
Auburndale's Cailyn Rowe was second at 199 in Olympic.
Davenport's Lyric Pittman was the only other district champion from Polk County. She won the two titles at 199 pounds, and teammate Aasiya Smith picked up a second-place finish in Olympic as 183.
This article originally appeared on The Ledger: Girls weightlifting: Battles happy to be back to help Lake Wales win districts