Wewahitchka and St. Joe will host Boys State Weightlifting Meets

Published: Mar. 12, 2021 at 10:06 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -Gulf County, and two schools there in particular, Wewahitchka and Port St. Joe, are now looking ahead to hosting part of the Boys State Championship Weightlifting Meet. Those two schools will work in unison to host the 2021 Boy’s 1A and 2A State Weightlifting meets come April 23rd and 24th.

The past few years Arnold’s hosted both the girls and boys state meets. This year Arnold passed on hosting again because of pandemic related issues. The girls meets went to Suwannee and St. Cloud High Schools in February. And when Suwannee passed on hosting part of the boys event, Wewahitchka Athletic Director Bobby Johns, who’s been involved with state weightlifting meets for more than 25 years, jumped in with the idea of Gulf County hosting some of the boys event!

“When we went to Suwanee for the girls and spoke with Coach Marse over there, he was not able, he knew he was not going to be able to host the 1A and the 2A meet when the time came for the boys.” coach Johns told us. “I came back and started talking with my folks a little bit, talked with Mr. Norton and kind of started exploring the opportunity for doing this. And then I reached out, and things just kind of rolled from there. The biggest concern I had what is that we didn’t feel like we could hosted in our gym. It’s just not really set up for that. So we really had to get Port St. Joe to buy in with us to be able to do this together and use their facility.”

So two big time county rivals will work together to host the meets, with the duties divided up this way, says coach Johns.

“In this endeavor basically what we’ve done is kind of divided it up. I’m taking care of all of the weightlifting side of things. The set up, the equipment, making sure we have all those types of things we need to set up the gymnasium. The schedule of events, all those types of things. And they are taking care of sponsorships. Taking care of help for those days. They’re taking care of getting parking taken care of, and gate keepers and all those types of things. And then they have to get their facility ready.”

And there is a nice benefit beyond the sporting side to all this. The economic impact on the area, and the exposure for the region to folks who may be coming this way for the first time.

“You know it’s important for us that this is a Gulf County venture.” coach Johns explained. “We want our community to benefit from it and we want our community to gain recognition for our part in this. But St. Joe wants to do the same for their end and promote that end of the county. You know one thing that we can really do a good job of both ways is getting our people involved so that they get recognition in it. But also really promoting the value of tourism and stuff in the Port St. Joe area and getting people out here that maybe never have been out here before and never would come here otherwise.”

Coach Johns is hoping they can do the kind of job that will make the FHSAA and other folks take notice to the point that they will want to bring this event back beyond this year!

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