Key West High weightlifting seniors

Lady Conch seniors, from left, Gabriela Araque, Breanna Allen, Yahaira Williams, Emily Bracher, Chloe Knowles, Marina Goins and Rosa Nofaree with coach Stacey Pillari in the rear, stop for a picture on Senior Night during the season final on Thursday, Jan. 13, in Key West.

Competing virtually for a majority of last season, the 2021-22 campaign for the Monroe County girls weightlifting programs were spent primarily in the Keys, so it was a fitting end to the season with Marathon and Coral Shores coming to Key West for Senior Night.

“It was a great Senior Night,” said Key West coach Stacey Pillari. “I think we all cried, a lot.”

The meet closed out the regular season for all three of the county schools, with Key West now facing the unknown entering the District 2A Championship, no longer with Marathon and Coral Shores in District 1A.

“As far as season standings, it’s hard to tell,” said Pillari. “We have been competing against Coral Shores and Marathon, but we are not in their district so cannot say where we finished in our district. In our district, none of the teams send their scores to know how we stand.”

Key West will be competing on Friday, Jan. 21, at Jensen Beach.

“All I know is we almost have an entire team going to districts,” said Pillari, who had 12 lifters advance to the region meet last year and three to states.

In total, 45 Monroe County girls reached the region finals last year, and if the full teams are able to travel, Lady ‘Fins coach Jesse Schubert expressed he believes Marathon and Coral Shores will once against be district contenders. The Lady ‘Fins are led by seven returning seniors — State placer Rylan Chapa, Kayla Sipe, Clair Merryman, Jimenez, Sarah Kratzert, Emily Suarez and Yasmary Santos.

“Our girls are looking really tough, so there’s a lot of promise,” said Schubert. “Chapa is looking great, she didn’t do soccer this year to focus on getting stronger. Clair, Sarah and Emily all just missed going state by a few pounds last year and are looking great this year.”

The Lady ‘Fins coach explained that his squad is concentrating on doing their best at districts and not having any of the newer girls scratch out.

“The girls who have been there before, know what districts are about,” said Schubert. “We are good to go, we just need to see what happens, but Coral Shores is really strong this year, so they are going to be tough to beat for sure.”

The District 1A Finals will be held at the Cross Fit Gym in Miami Lakes on Saturday, Jan. 22, but with six Lady ‘Fins already missing due to COVID, the coach stressed it remains a fluid situation.

“Everything is up in the air,” said Schubert. “If any of the girls get sick in the next week, they are not going to be able to go, so we just have to try to keep everybody healthy.”