Members of the boys weightlifting team joined their female counterparts as district champions.
Windermere Prep now has two district champion weightlifting teams.
The Laker boys won their first District 11 crown Wednesday, March 30, to join the girls, who earned their spot during the winter season.
With 63 points total, the Laker boys dominated the district meet. Foundation Academy, last year’s district champions, earned second place with 36 points, while Trinity Prep secured third with 31 points. The other teams that competed in the district meet were Montverde Academy, The First Academy, Orangewood Christian and Lake Highland Prep.
“Those guys have been training since their last season ended last year,” Windermere Prep coach Micah Kurtz said. “They trusted our training, they trusted our program, and when they trust in us, and believe in us and the hard work pays off, it’s awesome.”
This was the first district meet for senior Zane Fullmer, who placed first in the 238-pound weight class, adding seven points to the team’s total score.
“I feel pretty proud (of the team),” Fullmer said. “I was nervous at first, but once I saw that I could do more weight than other people, I felt confident that we were going to win.”
Senior Jack Durst also earned first place in his weight class, 169 pounds, and added another seven points to the team’s total score.
“I am very excited to go on to regionals with the whole team,” he said. “Last year, we didn’t have nearly as many guys, so it’s really nice to have your whole team support you this year.”
For seventh-grader Jack Peagram, being able to compete at districts this year was exciting. Last year, he was quarantined with COVID-19 at the time of the meet, so he was not able to go. Peagram placed fourth in his weight class, 119 pounds, and added three points to the team’s overall score.
“I was very surprised at first,” he said about winning districts. “It really felt great when we grabbed the trophy and everything.”
After the pandemic, the team’s numbers suffered for a while, because once the team was allowed to go back into the weight room, they had to figure out how to train in ways that adhered to safety guidelines. And last season, the Lakers had a young team.
“Those young guys stayed committed throughout after the season, the summer, the fall and the winter,” Kurtz said. “They were really good competitors for us this year at districts.”
After seeing the girls team win districts this year, a lot of the guys who had been part of the school’s strength program for the past few years decided to join the team as well.
“They were saying success breeds success,” Kurtz said. “Jackson Bennett, Oliver Cowin and Zane Fullmer were some of the guys who joined after they saw the success of the girls program. Some of them were top lifters for this season.”
When it comes to the team culture, the guys said being on the team feels like having a second family.
“We are really good in (having a) supportive team culture,” Durst said. “Even if you are not getting first in your weight class, everyone is still supporting you and pushing you to do better.”
Kurtz wants the kids to see weightlifting as more than a sport. He wants them to see the weight room as a place they enjoy walking into and always feel better about themselves when they leave after practice.
“Weightlifting is more than just getting bigger and stronger,” he said. “Perseverance, overcoming obstacles, overcoming the fear of failure and being dedicated to trying to become better every single day — those are things they can carry over into every area of life.”
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