SPRING HILL - Five Pasco County high school weightlifters are living on the "bubble" for at least a few days.
All the lifters were trying for the number one spot in their weight class at the Class 2A-District 4 State Qualifying Meet Wednesday at Springstead High. The second- and third-place finishers hope to qualify among nine at-large spots and lift in April in Kissimmee at the Class 2A State Meet.
River Ridge High's Kevin Harris took second in the 238-pound class. He had a 300-pound bench press and a 290-pound clean and jerk for a 590-pound total.
Bryan Brown of Wiregrass Ranch finished third in the 154-pound class. He had a 300-pound bench and a 185-pound clean and jerk for a 485-pound total.
Hudson's Doug Kruse was third in the 183-pound class. He had a 285-pound bench press and a 245-pound clean and jerk for a 530-pound total.
River Ridge's Austin Schwarz took third in the 219-pound class. He had personal bests with a 300-pound bench press and a 285-pound clean and jerk for a 585-pound total.
"I'm proud of what I did," said Schwarz.
Schwarz was recovering from a broken right wrist which he suffered during the final game of the Royal Knights' football season.
Hudson's Gary Myrick was third in the 238-pound class. He had a 275-pound bench press and a 275-pound clean and jerk for a 550-pound total.
Kruse can't get enough of the weight room
Doug Kruse is the sort of lifter who has to be kicked out of the weight room.
"He works out in school at weightlifting class and then puts in another two and one-half hours in," said Hudson coach Justin Fenton. "You have to kick him out.
"He has a great clean and jerk. He does a great job on bench press but clean and jerk is where he really is successful."
Kruse is no stranger to the weight room. He started lifting in seventh grade.
One unusual credential he brings to the table is that he has a 4.07 grade point average. He said he wants either to become a chiropractor or possibly work in insurance. He already works in a local insurance agency.
So what does a future chiropractor find appealing about heavy lifting?
"I like the benefits you get," he said. "Your strength goes up and you feel better."
He hopes to make it to Kissimmee in April.
"It would mean a lot," he said.
Kruse almost didn't lift Wednesday. He said he threw up six times Tuesday. He also woke up at 4 in the morning.
He said he felt like he was at 75 percent physical capacity. Sick or not, he said he had a five-pound improvement on the bench press.