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Lacie and Casey going for gold

Lacie and Casey like their steaks medium rare.

Lacie and Casey cheer together. Lacie and Casey hang together.

On Valentine’s Day, Lacie and Casey hope to win together.

“That would be awesome,” Lacie said.

“We would have to definitely celebrate,” Casey said.

Manatee’s Lacie Jensen and Casey Kinkopf are two of the best weightlifters in the county, and they’ll be heading to New Port Richey for Saturday’s state meet.

Together.

They’re always together.

“Everyone thinks we’re sisters, but we’re not,” said Casey, a senior. “And then Lacie and Casey, the names don’t help either, because they think we’re twins.”

Close friends who gravitated toward weightlifting after discovering their strength as Hurricane cheerleaders, Lacie and Casey hope to head to the top of medal stands during Saturday’s state weightlifting meet in New Port Richey.

Together.

Lacie is competing at 129 pounds. Casey at 139 pounds.

That’s about the only two things that sets the two apart.

You’ll find them in Manatee’s weight room every day after cheer practice. You’ll find them in their on some Saturday mornings, too.

You’ll find them enjoying some post-meet grub at The Boiler Room Bar & Grill.

“We try to get as many people as we can,” Casey said.

And you’ll also find them near the top of the list of the meet’s qualifiers — Lacie is seeded third at 129, Casey fifth at 139.

Medals go to the top six.

“We always tell each, ‘It’s light weight,’” Casey said, perhaps forgetting she and Casey earned their state berths by combining to lift more than 600 pounds. “We try and get each other past the mental part.

“We definitely do a lot of lifting together.”

Together. It’s a pivotal word when talking about Lacie and Casey, though Jensen made it to state last season without her.

Lacie’s sixth-place finish earned her a medal — but it wasn’t the same without Casey hanging by her side.

“Now that we’re together, we can be there right next to each other,” Lacie said, “because we’re one weight class right away from each other. We’re going to pump each other up. Last year, it was my first time and it was kind of nerve-wracking. This year, I can sort of help her and tell her how it was.”

They’ll be other Manatee lifters there Saturday, and other lifters from the Southeast and Lakewood Ranch, too.

But through the throng of people, Lacie and Casey will find a way to stick together, pushing each other and goading each other toward gold. And this will be their last time as teammates — Casey is off to Florida Gulf Coast University next year.

“I’ll visit,” Lacie said.

“I’ll definitely go see her at state next year,” Casey added.

For now, however, they have Saturday. One more chance for Lacie and Casey to do something special.

Together.

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