PALMETTO -- Heather Lutz wasn’t trying anything flashy.
The Bayshore senior kept her lifting as simple as possible.
“I just kind of looked on the sheets and saw what they did and did what I needed to do,” Lutz said of her opponents.
Lutz took first in the 119-pound division at Wednesday’s Sub-District 8 Qualifier at Palmetto High with just three lifts.
Each competitor is allowed three attempts in both the bench press and clean-and-jerk disciplines. Lutz, however, benched 120 pounds on her first attempt and then worked on her form in the clean and jerk on two attempts -- nailing 110 pounds to finish the day with a combined 230 pounds.
Lutz joined 29 other girls in 10 weight classes who advanced to the state qualifier to be held Jan. 25 at Port Charlotte.
Lutz booked her first state appearance last year and is eager for a return trip. She said nerves played a role in a disappointing finish.
“If I didn’t go to states last year, I wouldn’t know what to do,” Lutz said. “I’m telling all the girls that even if you don’t go, to go and watch it if you’re really into it.”
This year, Lutz has battled to make weight, but head coach Willie Brown said it’s normal with high school lifters.
“Bodies grow, and they are young adults,” Brown said. “And then coming off the holidays, it’s tough on anybody. It’s commendable that they’re able to get back down.”
Lutz is a dual-enrollment student at State College of Florida, so she has been working with personal trainer Jeremy Jackson at YouFit to help with her technique.
“He’s been her trainer, and I won’t take any of the glory on that,” Brown said. “And if anybody can help any of my girls, I’m not so egotistical enough to think that I’m one who knows everything.”
Lakewood Ranch advanced the most lifters to the stat qualifier. The following Mustangs advanced: Shelby Anderson (first, 101-pound weight class), Marissa Carlson (first, 110), Mireyda Rodriguez (second, 119), Marina Haynes (third, 119), Hannah Asay (first, 129), Theresa Simunovic (first, 139), Jenn Trotter (second, 139), Amanda Johnson (first, 154), Danielle Walker (second, 154), Quillan Toler (second, 169), Dana Hutchins (second, 183) and Casey Crosby (second, 199).
Other qualifiers include Braden River’s Michelle Tran (second, 101), Cayman Trudell (third, 101), Cayton Chrisman (second, 110), Courtney Rapp (third, 129), Demi-Shay Watchorn (third, 139) and Laura Otaiza (first, 183); Bayshore’s Kim Whitaker (first, 169), Ronitra Andress (first, 199), Venise Andre (third, 199) and Cherrish Turner (third, unlimited); Palmetto’s Kristen Keyes (third, 110) and Brittney Rumph (second, unlimited); Manatee’s Mariah Wise (second, 129), Morgan O’Quinn (third, 169), Brianna Incardone (third, 183); and Southeast’s Lydia Wilkinson (third, 154) and Cathyarleen Porter (first, unlimited).