Marlins power up for victory in Beauty and the Beast

Tina Harbuck

With 14 athletes placing in the top five in their weight classifications, the Destin Marlins captured a one-point victory over the competition in the fourth annual Beauty and the Beast weightlifting event earlier this week.

The boys competed in bench press and clean and jerk, with each competitor getting the chance to do three bench presses and three clean and jerks for points. The top five places earn points that count toward the team total.

The Marlins racked up 48 points while the Bruner Spartans of Fort Walton Beach came in second with 47. Pryor Middle placed third with 44 points and Meigs Middle of Shalimar finished fourth with 23 points.

“I’m proud of all of the kids and the effort in which they put forth and glad that they were rewarded for it,” said Destin Athletic Director Daniel Griffin. “This was a total 'team Marlin victory.' I will reference these score sheets for years to come and show future lifters that you win weight meets by depth. Our depth and consistence from weight class to weight class is what won this meet for Destin Middle School.

“We were not always the highest but most certainly not the lowest. We scored quality points in every class to secure the wins,” Griffin said.

Destin scored some of those “quality points” in the 91-pound classification taking first and second. Dillon Matekovich benched 95 pounds and did 100 on C&J for a total of 195 pounds for first, while his teammate Audrey Lukin took second with 80 on the bench and 100 on C&J.

In the 101-pound class, Destin’s Aiden Garrity came in third with 100 on bench and 115 on C&J for a total of 215 pounds.

“That’s my highest I’ve ever done,” Garrity said. Last year he competed and came in fourth.

In the 169-pound class, Destin’s Gage Shelly placed second with a 110 on bench and 150 on C&J.

Destin’s Luke Bilger took fifth in the 101-pound class with 100 pounds on both bench and C&J.

In the 183-pound class, Destin’s Preston Murphy earned second place with a bench of 140 and 170 on C&J.

In the heavyweight class, both Destin competitors earned points. Ryan Driscoll placed third with 175 on bench and 170 on C&J. Spencer McKenzie came in fourth with a 160 on bench and 175 on C&J.

“I did pretty good,” McKenzie said, noting it was his first time to compete. “It was pretty fun. I beat my personal goal. I wanted to get 170 for bench, but that’s like pushing it way too far."

The Marlins also did well in the 139-pound class taking two more spots. Marcus Rockwell placed second with a 155 on both bench and C&J. Christian Gonzalez came in fourth with a 140 on bench and 150 on C&J.

In the 129-pound class, Destin’s Nathan Step placed fifth with 120 on bench and 125 on C&J for a 245 total. Parker Hill, also of Destin, did his personal best with 115 bench and 120 C&J, but didn’t place.

In the 154-pound class, Destin’s Sandro Ciurello came in sixth in his group, but didn’t earn points.

“I did my personal best, but not against other people,” Ciurello said. He benched 135 and did 130 on the C&J.

In the 119-pound class, Destin’s Tyler Powell took first with a bench of 150 and 135 on C&J for a 285 total.

The Marlins also did well in the 110-pound class. Jack Tenholder placed third with a 115 on both bench and C&J. Jacob Moore-Wester placed fifth with 105 on bench and 115 on C&J.

The boy’s competition was the conclusion of a two-day weightlifting event with the girls participating earlier on Monday.

“I thought the weight meet went incredibly well,” Griffin said. “The numbers and talent levels are increasing each and every year which validates each and every schools strength and conditioning programs efforts.”