Wewa and Port St. Joe set to host State Weightlifting Meets

Published: Apr. 22, 2021 at 10:51 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -The folks at Wewahitchka and Port St. Joe are teaming up to host the 1-A and 2-A Boy’s State Weightlifting Meet, with the 1A lifters competing Friday, the 2A lifters competing Saturday.

Arnold was originally set to host the state weightlifting meets, but because of the pandemic, chose not to. The Girl’s meets went to Suwannee and St. Cloud High Schools. The latter still hosting the 3A boy’s meet, but Suwannee could not accommodate the Boy’s 1A and 2A events. So Wewa and St. Joe stepped up with a concerted effort to bring this meet to Gulf County for the first time ever.

“The reason we didn’t do it at Wewa” says Wewahitchka A.D. and Meet Director Bobby Johns “is that we can separate fans a lot easier, because they have an upstairs area. So what we’ve got now, we’re not going to have the liters, normally lifters when they’re not lifting, sit in the stands, with the fans. What we’re doing is housing all the lifters upstairs, where they have chairs, and they can congregate. And then only the fans will be in the bleachers, both bottom and top. So we’re hoping that will alleviate some of the issues we have with how many people are in the bleachers at one time.”

It is a bit unusual for two schools to host a state championship event like this. Two rival schools at that.

“Well we’re Gulf County Schools and first and foremost, we’re a family together.” Coach Johns said. “Mr. (Jim) Norton, our Superintendent is very adamant about that. It’s very important to him to make sure our two communities, even though on Friday night, on the softball field or whatever, we are rivals. And we do want to win and we want to beat each other, when it all comes out in the wash, we’re all a part of Gulf County Schools.”

“I think it’s just a great opportunity for Gulf County, to be able to bring in as many people as we can.” Port St. Joe A.D. and weightlifting coach Tanner Jones added. “And let them see the rebuilding that’s going on the facilities that we have.”

“We want people to come watch. “ says coach Johns. “I mean we’re trying to put on a good show. There’s going to be 400 kids here competing over two days. We’ve got great places to stay, great places to eat. You know it’s a beautiful area. We’re hoping that people that have never been to this area before, when they get here, they’re going to be like ‘you know we want to go back there.’ So we’re trying to do a really good job.”

“It’s a little overwhelming, with all the preparations.” Jones told us. “And we’ve met for the last month, about once or twice a week, and late night phone calls to figure everything out. Coach Johns has done an unbelievable job. He’s really the one heading this up and doing all the work. So we’re just piggybacking off of him. But I think it’s, like I said earlier, it’s great for Gulf County to bring people in and to see what our community is about.”

Along with the host schools, lifters from Arnold, Fort Walton Beach, Rutherford, Blountstown, Sneads, Liberty Bay, Marianna, Vernon, Holmes and North Bay Haven will all compete over the two days at the gym there.

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