At season’s midpoint,
NCT’s Gray, Fontano, C. Traudt
Waddell, Johnson, Miller all 5-0
By TONY CASTRO
BROOKSVILLE – On Wednesday night in the pint-sized Nature Coast Technical weight room, the host Sharks (5-0) smothered the winless Central Bears (0-6), 70-9.
After the two-hour affair, the third-year NCT Head Coach Rudy Story’s troops improved to 18-0 in dual meets behind a school record 10 individual meet champions featuring: freshman Kendal Haff at 129, juniors Aryana Millan at 101, Tara Gray at 110 and Isabella Traudt at 169, seniors Abigail Fontano at 119, Aliyah DiPalma at 139, Amanda Waddell at 154, Courtney Traudt at 183, Arieyanna Johnson at 199 and Jouie Miller at unlimited.
With a blend of youth and experience, NCT looks to improve on last winter’s 11th-place Class 1A state finish in nine weeks at Panama City Beach-Arnold High.
In 2015-16, NCT returned home with a pair of state runner-up trophies.
The Sharks are seeking the school’s first state championship since its boys bowling crown in 2007.
Ironically, in 2008, NCT disbanded the program.
After Wednesday evening’s efforts, six Sharks remain undefeated in 2018-19 including: Gray, Fontano, Waddell, Courtney Traudt, A. Johnson and Miller.
The first-year Haff is right behind at 4-1 – she’s won her last four meets in a row – while Arika Smith and Madsion Mookdasanit have each posted three individual wins.
Miller: Leader of the pack
Miller continues to be the county leader.
The four-year starter and three-time All-County lifter has pocketed 22 individual wins to date.
The defending two-time state runner-up set another Hernando County with a 230-pound bench press against CHS.
She tied the 2017 county record of a combined 425-pound total this season against Bishop McLauglin.
Two-time All-County selection Courtney Traudt bested her closest competitor, Central’s Kelsey Cheesman, 300-265, for her fifth win of the year.
Up to Wednesday’s meet, Cheesman had not been beaten.
“I didn’t feel I needed to max out today,” explained Traudt, 18, who had hoisted a combined 320-pound total in back to back weeks. “The last week has been rough. I’ve felt like my mind wasn’t all in.
“… I know I need to work on my bench and my cleans. It just seems like I’ve faced a lot of younger lifters so far this year,” added Traudt. “I like getting pushed, but I feel I haven’t so far. I miss that adrenaline rush. I’m like everybody else, I wouldn’t mind seeing a little better competition.”
Fontano remained undefeated by staving off teammate Kennedy Weissman by 10 pounds, 230-220.
As a senior, Fontano feels the need to apply herself now.
She narrowly missed her seasonal best of 235 pounds.
“I just missed my last clean at 130, had I gotten that I would’ve set my PR,” recalled the 17-year-old Fontano. “I thought I did better than I thought I would. I was feeling okay. ”
After climbing to 5-0, “It tastes pretty good,“ beamed Fontano. “I’m looking for more competition.”
Another shade of Gray
Gray topped her closest rival, teammate Jadah Carrera, by 40 pounds, 225-185, for her fifth triumph. In the process, she just missed tying her personal record of 230 pounds.
“I was a little disappointed in myself, that I didn’t get that last clean,” noted the 16-year-old Gray. “I felt like I did well in my bench. It’s getting easier and easier.”
In an overall sense, “I fell pretty good,“ added Gray. “I think I’m looking for some better competition.”
NCT retunes to action next Wednesday, Dec. 12, at Hernando in a tri-meet against the Lady Leopards and Weeki Wachee.
1. Nature Coast Technical (NCT) 70, 2. Central (CEN) 9.
Final Individual Results: (Top 3 scores count toward team score. Points based on 5-3–1 system).
101 – 1. Aryana Millan (NCT) 105=95—200, 2. Tynecia Grant (NCT) 70-65—135..
110 – 1. Tara Gray (NCT) 105-120—225, 2. Jadah Carrera (NCT) 80-105—185.
119 – 1. Abigail Fontano (NCT) 105-125—230, 2. Kennedy Weissman (NCT) 95-125—220.
129 – 1. Kendal Haff (NCT) 120-115—235, 2. Andrea Florkowski (NCT) 95-95—190, Adard Madht (CEN) 80-85—165..
139 – 1. Aliyah DiPalma (NCT) 115-110—225, 2. Madison Mookdadasanit (NCT) 95-130—225, 3. Kelsey Barats-Shumate (CEN) 115-110—225..
154 – 1. Amanda Waddell (NCT) 130-130—260.
169 – 1. Isabella Traudt (NCT) 140-140—280.
183 – 1. Courtney Traudt (NCT) 150-150–300, 2. Kelsey Cheesman (CEN) 135-130–265, 3. Madison Feruzza (NCT) 85-90—175.
199 – 1. Arieyanna Johnson (NCT) 165-135–300, 2. Sylvia Johnson (NCT) 120-120—240, 3. Gianna Espinal (CEN) 105-105—210.
UNL – 1. Jouie Miller (NCT) 230-185–415, 2. Mary Wilhelm (CEN) 140-135—275, 3. Elisett Melendez (NCT) 115-120—235.
Records – Central (0-6), Nature Coast Technical (5-0)