BAKER — With a 310-pound total at Friday’s Region 1-1A weightlifting meet in Baker, Freeport sophomore Sydni Free became the first lifter in school history to bring home a region championship.


Just one week after taking the District 1-1A crown at 183 pounds, Free benched 150 pounds and cleaned and jerked 160 pounds, the latter a personal best, to guarantee herself a spot at the Class 1A Florida High School Girls Weightlifting State Championships on Friday at Arnold High School in Panama City Beach.


Free also starts for the Bulldog volleyball team and pitches for the softball team.


REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP ALERT Sydni Free becomes the FIRST EVER regional champion in girls weightlifting from FHS. ‘Syd the kid’ will compete for a state title Feb 14 at @ArnoldMarlins1 CONGRATULATIONS @SethSnwfdn @MimsCourtney @ScottRossman7 @BlakeMcCormic13 pic.twitter.com/HOWLmskKYk

— Freeport Bulldogs Football (@FreeportHSAth) February 1, 2020

GIRLS BASKETBALL


Choctaw 50, West Florida Tech 34


Coach Don Brown’s crew continues to roll.


Behind Kyla Abraham’s 11-point, 12-rebound, 10-block triple-double, the Indians secured their 10th straight victory on Friday night at the TeePee to close out the regular season.


Anissa Luton added a team-high 14 points, while Alexis Becker finished with 11 points.


With a 17-5 record and a first-round bye in the District 1-5A tournament, Choctaw will next play either Fort Walton Beach (18-6 overall) or Escambia (1-19) at 6 p.m. Thursday in the TeePee.


BOYS BASKETBALL


Fort Walton Beach 56, Niceville 54


Calvin Payton couldn’t miss.


The Fort Walton Beach senior drained six 3-pointers en route to a game-high 20 points Friday night in Niceville to hold off the Eagles and correct the Vikings’ two-game losing streak before it got out of hand.


Niceville trailed 44-27 entering the fourth quarter, but thanks to 10 fourth-quarter points from junior forward Sedric Applewhite the Eagles (8-15) almost snapped their own five-game skid.


Applewhite finished with 19 points, and senior Donovan Myers splashed home four 3’s to finish with 17 points. Fort Walton Beach’s Kendrick Wright had 10 points.


Up next, Fort Walton Beach (10-13) will face Arnold (5-16) at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at The Fort, and Niceville will travel to take on Rutherford (17-5) at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Panama City.


Niceville’s Keebaugh commits to Mobile


A 6-foot-9 forward, Niceville’s Max Keebaugh announced Friday that he had committed to the University of Mobile in Mobile, Alabama.


"First of all, I would like to thank God for putting me in the position I am today," Keebaugh wrote in a note posted to his Twitter page. " Without him, I would have nothing. Secondly, I’d like to thank my parents for always being there for me and driving me to the gym or to practice in order to get better at the sport I love. Lastly, I want to thank Coach John of Hawks Elite for putting my name in front of college coaches and improving my game throughout the summer. After talking with my family, I’m proud to announce that I am committed to the University of Mobile!"


Keebaugh averages 7.4 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists for Niceville on 44% shooting. He previously attended Choctaw High School where he provided depth off the bench when the Indians advanced to the 7A state title game in March 2018.


110% COMMITTED pic.twitter.com/XhertduwBg

— Max Keebaugh (@MaxKeebaugh) January 31, 2020

FOOTBALL


Area recruiting circuit heats up


With Saturday came a flurry of recruiting updates.


First off, former Niceville tailback T.J. Pope announced he was transferring to Southern Miss. After rehabbing a torn meniscus and spending his freshman year at the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth, Kansas, the bruising back will now be just three hours from home.


In his final season with the Eagles, Pope ran for 1,155 yards and 11 rushing scores, averaging 6.5 yards per carry.


Relationship with Jesus will change ur life... dont believe me? Look what the kid came from #850 #Blessed https://t.co/1igZUoVSBK

— TJ Pope (@Tpope211) February 1, 2020

Meanwhile, the recruitment of current Niceville lineman Kimo Makaneole continues to gain steam.


After picking up an offer from Coastal Carolina this past week, Makaneole, a 6-5, 264-pound tackle, earned an offer from Troy on Saturday.


Makaneole helped pave the way for the Eagles’ 12-1 campaign and a run to the Region 1-7A finals this past year. Behind him, the Niceville offense ran for 2,620 yards, averaged 5.8 yards per carry and scored 35 rushing touchdowns, all while keeping the pocket clean for senior quarterback Will Koch, who earned the Daily News Offensive Player of the Year award.


Congrats to @KimoMakaneole on earning a OFFER from Head Coach @CLindsey_TROY and @TroyTrojansFB today. #Huge@Cassidy_Rob @247Sports @larryblustein pic.twitter.com/8ur4ZDAYjJ

— Niceville Football (@Niceville_FB) February 1, 2020

Niceville senior defensive end Roland Mathews also got some love Saturday, earning a preferred walk-on offer while visiting UAB in Birmingham, Alabama. Mathews had 37 tackles, seven tackles for loss, two sacks and an interception this past year.


Congrats to @rolandmathews13 on picking up a PWO offer from @UAB_FB today. pic.twitter.com/GFEoUDdt9K

— Niceville Football (@Niceville_FB) February 1, 2020

Finally, Fort Walton Beach receiver Jamison Brundidge is headed to DeLand after committing to Stetson on Friday. Brundidge totaled 12 catches for 221 yards and two scores for the Vikings this past year.


Committed .@coachroghughes@StetsonFootball @CoachFax pic.twitter.com/se9gYSerhp

— Jamison Brundidge (@jjbrundidge4) January 31, 2020