Wellington’s LeeAnn Hewitt named Post All-Area weightlifter of the year


Eating and drinking on the weightlifting floor isn’t uncommon. Lifters need to make sure they’re fully hydrated and have enough energy to lift more than their body weight.

But Wellington’s LeeAnn Hewitt has another reason. She’s diabetic and needs to make sure her blood sugar doesn’t crash while she’s lifting. Fortunately, she knows what her body needs and has never had an incident on the floor.

“You try to keep a balance, and especially with all the stress that ensues when you’re at a weightlifting meet, you just try to keep it as balanced as possible,” Hewitt said. “Even at states, my numbers weren’t (balanced) but it comes with the craft. I’ve been blessed with an ability to lift, and I just try to be strong about it.”

Hewitt, the Post’s Girls Weightlifter of the Year, has overcome that illness and become not only one of the premier weightlifters in the county, but in Florida and in the nation. After dominating district and regional competition, she won her second straight state title in the unlimited category in February, benching 270 pounds and lifting 235 pounds in the clean-and-jerk. She finished 35 total pounds ahead of the second-place finisher.

“You feel like you’re on top of the world because you work so hard for it and you yearn for it,” Hewitt said. “Especially in the weeks before, it’s all you think about. You just want to win and you want to do well, so when you actually succeed and hit that goal, it just feels unbelievable.”

Hewitt has also had success nationally.

At the Arnold Sports Festival last year, she broke six world records in the sub-junior category and lifted 1,268 pounds.

Her success on the national level led to Buzzfeed writing a story about her, and since then, Hewitt has received messages from other diabetic athletes around the country who have been inspired by her story and success.

“Kids my age say, ‘I’m struggling with this and you’ve inspired me to do this or keep going,’” she said. “That means a lot to me.”

Hewitt graduates from Wellington this spring. Her next goal: the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

“I’m excited about it,” Hewitt said. “I think I can do it.”

First Team

Christina Alexis, Jupiter, Sr.: Won the 119-pound class at the Class 2A, Region 7 meet, picking up a total of 265 pound.

Maria Anselmo, Seminole Ridge, Jr.: Alselmo won the 199-pound class at regionals, lifting a total of 315 pounds.

Casey Jo Cato, Forest Hill, So.: Cato, Palm Beach County’s lone state qualifier from the 101-pound class, had a 200-pound total at the regional meet.

Stephanie Etienvil, Lake Worth, Sr.: Etienvil placed in front of teammate Rosemarlie Gustave in 154-pound class at the regional meet, lifting a 300-pound total.

Anabel Fernandez, Seminole Ridge, Jr.: Fernandez, a first-team selection last year, finished in third place at states with a 360-pound total. She also won at regionals and at districts.

Julia Fowler, Boca Raton, Sr.: Fowler finished third at states after winning at the district and regional meets. She lifted a 335-pound total at the state meet.

Olivia Graff, Boca Raton, Sr.: Like Fowler, Graff placed fourth at states after winning the 139-pound class at the district and regional meets.

Lynn Gunnels, Wellington, So.: Gunnels outlifted a host of other sophomores in the 169-pound class at regionals, winning with a 280-pound total.

Katelyn Weissbach, John I. Leonard, Sr.: Weissbach won the 110-pound class at the District 13-2A meet before tying at regionals.

Second Team

Sydney Beadle, Seminole Ridge, Jr.

Elena Dingle, Seminole Ridge, So.

Julia Flores, Boca Raton, Sr.

Ashlyae Janvier, Atlantic, So.

Lauren Mills, Palm Beach Central, Sr.

Zhanelle Murph, Atlantic, Sr.

Hoxley Richet, Lake Worth, Sr.

Ashley Roberson, Pahokee, Sr.

Katherine Senofonte, Jupiter, Fr.

Honorable Mentions

Dwyer: Chole Moore; John I. Leonard: Kyara Dorvilus; Jupiter: Aaryan Ferrick, Amber Hamm; Lake Worth: Tanya Philippe; Pahokee: An’twanique Kinsler, Palm Beach Lakes: Darnelisha Graham; Seminole Ridge: Amy Garro, Rebecca Roy, Allison Taylor; West Boca Raton: Elise Degraffenreidt.

Coach of the Year

Cayla Amatulli, Seminole Ridge: Amatulli coached a pair of first-teamers and a pair of second-teamers as well as three honorable mentions this season.



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