PALMETTO -- Manatee High boys weightlifting coach Rich Lansky made a concerted effort to promote his sport this year.
The effort paid off handsomely Thursday when his Hurricanes dominated the field in capturing the Manatee County championship at Palmetto High.
The Canes amassed 73 points, nearly doubling the score of runner-up Braden River (38). Palmetto was third (35), followed by Lakewood Ranch (26), Southeast (23) and Bayshore (10).
"I am proud of them. It's a nice mix this year. It used to be mostly football players," Lansky said. "This year, since I started teaching full time at the school I had a bunch of kids get excited about learning to lift who weren't athletes before and now a couple of them have medals at the county championship."
Manatee had four individual winners. Darian Oliver took the 119-pound division with 380 points based on a 210-pound bench press and 170 clean and jerk. Louis Garcia was the 129-pound champ with 360 points (190-170); Joe Andruzzi won at 169 pounds with a score of 505 (265-235).
The big lifter for Manatee was heavyweight Dylan Beauchamp, who benched 385 and had a clean and jerk of 315 for 700 points.
"I am happy with both and hope to keep accelerating for the state qualifier meet," the 6-foot, 290-pound Beauchamp said. "I just tried to be a lot more explosive. My knees have been bothering me and have to stick strictly to power. I have been concentrating on getting my technique down because the refereeing is real strict in the states."
Mike Galati finished second in the heavyweight class with a 485 to help Manatee amass its points total. He had a 290 bench and 295 on clean and jerk.
"I tied my personal best on clean and jerk, but last meet I got 300 on the bench. Today, my upper body wasn't feeling too good," Galati said.
The top individual performance of the day was turned in by Southeast's defending Class 1A, 199-pound state champion Gage Takacs. Competing in the 219-pound class, the senior racked up 740 points with a 405-pound bench and 335-pound clean and jerk. He had 670 points at state last year with 315-pound clean and jerk and 355-pound bench.
Sparking Braden River were Logan Marshall, who took first in the 183-pound division with 530 points (285-250), and Kevin Parra, who won the 139-pound division with 405 points (210-195).
The other champions were Lakewood Ranch's Jamie Jeffcoat in the 154-pound division (235-250=485), Bradley Wyatt of Palmetto in the 199-pound class (280-250=530) and Chris Vitols from Southeast in the 238 pound class (330-250=580).