County’s lone state medalist – NCT’s Wellman – caps outstanding senior campaign

Logan Wellman                                                                                                                                                          Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO 

BOYS WEIGHTLIFTING

Third-year Shark

named county’s

Lifter of the Year

By TONY CASTRO

HernandoSport.com

For the first time in 16 seasons, Hernando County’s top male weightlifter – Logan Derrick Wellman – hails a from program not known for its weightlifting: Nature Coast Technical.

Since the sport’s inception along the California Street campus, weightlifting has been an excuse to improve under the bar for the Sharks’ football team.

Isn’t it true the Sharks have the smallest weight room in the county?

Isn’t that why the majority of its competitions are on the road?

Since 2004, NCT has hosted zero Hernando County championship meets.

Forget horse racing.

The Sharks are the Sir Winston of local weightlifting. They’re long shots every season to ever win the county title.

It’s first heavyweight lifter from 2004 – Chris Stratton – totaled a season-best 460 pounds.

That included a team-high 285-pound bench press.

But times have changed.

Logan Wellman                                                                                                    Photo by TONY CASTRO

Behind a 395-pound bench press along with a complimentary 315-pound clean-and-jerk for a 710-pound total, Wellman rewrote the NCT heavyweight division total this season.

Most importantly, of the eight Hernando County lifters – including a county record tying six from F.W. Springstead – only Wellman returned home from Bay County with a top-six podium performance from the 45th FHSAA State Finals.

The 6-foot-2, 285-pounder’s fourth-place effort at unlimited impressed the local brass enough to anoint Wellman as Hernando County’s Lifter of the Year.

In essence, it took 16 years for the Sharks to have one of its own ascend the local ranks to be named the county’s best.

Wellman 411

Logan’s journey began as the youngest of two boys born in one of the most well-known military installations in the Southeast: Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

Logan’s parents – Jason and Kim Wellman – both graduated from nearly Hudson High in West Pasco County.

Kim served as a flag twirler for the Cobra band while Jason played football.

After relocating from Hudson, the Wellman’s have called Spring Hill home for the past nine years.

Wellman’s initial organized sport was soccer in Kindergarten. He played it for less than two years – mostly as a goalie – but “really didn’t care for it.”

Next, he attended Crews Lake Middle School in Shady Hills.

He joined the Raiders football team and filled in as a left tackle and nose guard as a seventh-grader.

A year later, he alternated between offensive guard, right tackle and nose guard.

When he entered high school, he initially attended Springstead High in Spring Hill.

As a freshman, he played junior varsity-level football prior to going out for the weightlifting squad under veteran skipper Mike Garofano.

In his first-ever meet, Wellman “hoisted” 185 pounds with his bench press and added 165 pounds in the clean-and-jerk for a sixth place finish at 350 pounds.

He improved to a 375=pound total by season’s end.

That’s when Wellman decided to transfer to the medical cluster at NCT.

He played varsity football as a sophomore and senior, wrestled as a sophomore and junior, competed in weightlifting as a sophomore, junior and senior and participated in throwing the discus and shot put on the track team as a senior.

He recently graduated with a 2.95 grade point average.

Rewinding his heavy metal exploits

The raven-tressed and brown-eyed Wellman has come a long way in a short time in the weight room.

In 2017, Wellman broke in with the 0-5 Sharks competing in four meets.

He finished runner-up in a tri-meet with Citrus High before finishing third in the 19th Hernando County Meet.

He concluded the season placing fifth in districts and third in regionals.

In 2018, Wellman competed in seven meets.

He opened the season on the right foot with four individual wins along his first five meets; he placed second in his other meet.

He garnered gold medals at Hernando duel, at Citrus High’s and Weeki Wachee’s tri-meets and 20th Hernando County Championship Meet.

He followed up placing runner-up at districts and third in regionals.

Looking back, he dropped key head-to-head clashes against Citrus High’s Christian Solomon three times in three meetings.

He missed qualifying as an at-large lifter for states by an agonizing five pounds.

Though he did not achieve his primary goal of attaining the FHSAA State Finals as a junior, nothing stood in his way a year later .

In six meets (NOTE: NCT never reported any results from scheduled meets at Weeki Wachee nor Gorge Jenkins), Wellman returned home with four known wins (at Citrus, at Sunlake, 21st Hernando County Meet and the Class 1A, District 11 Meet).

At regionals at Zephyrhills High, Wellman improved to second place.

In his first-ever FHSAA State Finals at Panama City Beach, he shook off any first-time jitters by returning home with a shiny fourth-place bronze medal.

In the process, Wellman defeated his old nemesis from Citrus, Christian Solmon, four times this season.

Paul Kern

“Logan got better and better as the season progressed,” indicated Central mentor Paul Kern. “I should know, I watched him at Weeki Wachee, at Springstead (during the county meet) and districts … Each time he came out and looked better.“

“He had the highest finish at states … That’s enough for me,” stressed Hernando High‘s Mark Griffith.

Mike Garofano

“Turns out, he was the most consistent lifter in the county,” shared nine-time Hernando County Coach of the Year Garofano of Springstead. “Placing the best of any of our county kids didn’t hurt him.”

LOY Reaction

Wellman was blindsided with the announcement.

285 Nature Coast Tech, Logan Wellman vs Shane Davidson, Weeki Wachee. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

“I’m kinda surprised,” he said. “It took a lot of hard work to get this far. I remember coming in on weekends to get my lifts in. Besides lifting after school, I probably lifted 2-3 times a day.”

On his local competition, “There wasn’t much until regionals and states,” deemed Wellman.

On who pushed his buttons in practice, Wellman never hesitated pointing to second-year mentor Cory Johns.

“Coach Johns always worked with me, especially on my power cleans,” noted Wellman. “My form was never too good.”

Jesus Torres

Members of the Sharks’ football team – Jesus Torres and Michael “Mike-Mike” Weston also helped Wellman achieve new heights.

Michael Weston

“The favorite part of football for me was lifting,” indicated Wellman. “I remember Mike-Mike and Jesus (Torres) always pushing me.

“Those guys stressed doing things the right way. That helped improve my confidence,” shared Wellman. “That, in turn, improved me mentally.”

On winning, “That was always a great feeling but I just kept climbing. Setting the school record for the highest total was impressive. My goal heading into states was to hit 400 pounds. That‘s a crazy total, but that‘s what I was going for.”

Other small goals included winning the county – which he did twice.

“The first step in my performance was winning the county meet,” described Wellman. “I wanted to get my foot in the door. Winning it the first time gave me confidence to win it again the second.

“… I remember winning districts was huge, but performing well in regionals was the goal,” emphasized Wellman. “I worked extremely hard to get second in regionals. I mostly worked on my bench press.”

At states, “I had my entire family there,” recalled Wellman. “I was extremely comfortable. They show up to everything.”

Wellman converted 4-of-6 attempts, including his first two bench presses and first two clean-and-jerks.

“I went for broke on my last lift. I went from 315 pounds to 330 on that last power clean. That was a lot of weight. I’d never done that progression before, but I thought at the time, “Why not?”

On reaching the post-meet podium, “Believe me, I was happy getting fourth,” beamed Wellman. “My goal all along was to come back home with a medal.”

What’s next?

With prep weightlifting behind him, Wellman is preparing to attend Pasco-Hernando State College.

He’d like to eventually attend the local fire academy.

Logan Wellman

On his career path, “I’ve always wanted to be a fire fighter,“ he said. “I’d like to be someone who can help people.”

Before heading to PHSC, “I’m gonna miss Nature Coast’s weight room,” lamented Wellman. “I’m gonna miss all the activity involved in the room. All the yelling and all the encouragement by my teammates.

“I’m gonna miss Jesus (Torres) the most. We were pretty close.”

When Wellman is not lifting, he can usually be spotted outdoors.

He enjoys hunting, fishing and cooking on a grill.

“I’m an outdoors guy,” smiled Wellman. “I like fishing in the ocean than I do fishing the Gulf (of Mexico).”

Moving forward, Wellman indicated that only lifting he’ll do is to maintain his conditioning.

“I’d like to be remembered as the heaviest lifter-ever at Nature Coast,” he grinned.

Mission accomplished.

By the Numbers: NCT’s Logan Wellman (2019)

– Compiled by TONY CASTRO

Logan Wellman
 

OPPONENT

 

WGT

 

BEN

 

C&J

 

TOT

 

PL

 

Citrus tri-meet

 

UNL

 

380

 

300

 

680

 

1st

 

Sunlake five-way

 

UNL

 

365

 

305

 

670

 

1st

 

Hernando County

 

UNL

 

365

 

315

 

380

 

1st

 

Class 1A, District 11

 

UNL

 

380

 

320

 

700

 

1st

Class 1A, Region VI

UNL

375

315

690

2nd 3nd

Class 1A State Finals

UNL

395

315

710

4th

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