WINTER ALL-AREA: Carter named LCR's Girls Weightlifter of the Year
FORT WHITE — The defending state champ knew right away that a repeat would be a tall order.
Fort White’s Kacey Carter watched Union County’s Kurston Bakken dominate the unlimited weight class at the District 4-1A meet with a 490-pound total. That was 60 pounds more than Carter, and a margin that would only increase over the next month as the two made their way to state.
“I saw her at a regular season meet and I saw how much she had increased and I was like, ‘wow, that’s going to be tough to beat.’ And she ended up beating me,” Carter said.
And not just at districts.
Bakken’s total rose all the way to 525 pounds at the Class 1A Championships at Panama City Beach in January, a number that was unmatched by the rest of the competition. Carter was more than 100 pounds behind, benching 225 pounds with a 195-pound clean and jerk to finish with a 420 total.
Those numbers were still good enough for fourth place in the state, and good enough to be named the Lake City Reporter’s Girls Weightlifter of the Year.
“It was difficult,” Carter said of not repeating. “I’ve been lifting against her for so long and she jumped ahead of and I was like, ‘well, okay. It’s your turn. I had mine, it’s your turn now.’ ”
Carter won a silver medal at districts with a 430 total and then did the same at regionals, though that number fell to 415. That notched the junior’s third trip to state in as many years at Fort White.
But Bakken was on a mission and wasn’t going to be stopped, not even by Carter. After finishing behind Carter at state in 2017 in fifth place, the senior’s numbers shot through the roof in 2018 all the way from 385 pounds.
“We had seen (Bakken) at the district meet, regional meet and state meet. We kind of had an idea before we ever got there that there was a huge difference between the two totals,” Fort White coach Roy Hardin said. “The girl from Union County was quite a bit stronger this year so I think we had realistic expectations to be honest.”
Even with tempered expectations, Carter wasn’t entirely pleased with her performance on the big stage. She had posted a season-high total of 455 pounds during a regular-season meet — a 240 bench and a 215 clean and jerk —and she was disappointed she didn’t at least replicate those numbers at state.
If she had, she would have taken second place. Instead, she finished five pounds back of second and third.
“My total had been higher during regular season meets, but at state I just didn’t do as good as I normally would have,” Carter said. “I know I can raise my total about 50 pounds.”
Carter sees the bright side, though. Bakken will graduate this spring, opening the door for a new state champion in 2019.
Or maybe an old, as Carter strives to retake the gold in her final season at Fort White.
“There were three other girls that had similar other totals so she’s going to have to continue to work this year,” Hardin said. “Obviously with (Bakken) graduating, it’ll open things back up and hopefully she’ll get back to where she was at.”
With only one more year left, Carter plans to make her senior year count. That mean’s continuing to train hard to get back to the top of the medal stand.
“That’s my hope. That’s my goal,” she said
Columbia, unlimited class
Missed qualifying for state by just five pounds. She put a total weight of 310 pounds at districts to finish second and did the same again at regionals, where she placed fifth.
Fort White, 110 class
Was one of three state qualifiers for the Indians. She placed second at districts as well as regionals, where she put up 240 total pounds. She placed 12th at state.
Columbia, 183 class
Just missed out on state by only 10 pounds. She placed third at districts and then second at regionals. She saved her best for last, increasing her district total by 15 pounds for a 265 total at regionals.
Columbia, 119 class
Nearly qualified for state, missing out by 10 pounds. She took bronze at districts and later went on to finish fifth at regionals, putting up a 220 total at both meets.
Fort White, 110 class
Made it to state and was right behind teammate Jessica Burns in the 110 class. She took third at districts and regionals, lifting 215 total pounds at regionals. She placed 18th at state.