The Arnold Marlins are once again getting set to host the Girl's State Weightlifting Meet, with the 2A teams competing next Friday, the 1A teams competing next Saturday.
Last year the first time Arnold hosted both the girl's and boy's meets, and it all went off without any noticeable problems.
One of those who does the "heavy lifting" to put it all together, excuse the punt, is Marlins weightlifting coach Josh Flaig.
"The State Meet, it's a lot of work. When they say it takes a village, they're not kidding. Between the administrators, Athletic Director Rick Green, myself, my wife, we're pretty much going to be out of classrooms and out of office, starting Thursday. Setting up all day Thursday, then we have the (2A) meet Friday, then we have our meet (1A) Saturday, so it's a three or four day event."
And it is obviously a labor of love, because coach Flaig's program and Arnold High School don't necessarily reap any financial rewards from hosting the event. That's not to say it isn't all worth it, at least from coach Flaig's point of view.
"As far as payoff goes, I think it's more for the community than anything. As a school we're not going to see any money really. We're lucky to break even. But as a community, after the hurricane, we get people coming down. There's rooms that will get booked up. There's restaurants that will get people coming in. So it should be some good news for the economy here in Panama City. And like I said in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael we're really excited to have a good positive event for our girls to be proud of, our school to be proud of, and hopefully the community as well."
As it happens, Arnold with 6 lifters making it to State, 4 of them as region champs. Bozeman, St. Joe, Mosley, Altha, Holmes Choctaw, Rocky Bayou, Niceville and Fort Walton Beach will also be represented at Arnold next weekend.