Posted: 12:00 p.m. Friday, June 6, 2014

Abyu Perez, Seminole Ridge, Post boys weight lifter of year


Boys Weight lifter of the Year — Abyu Perez photo
All-Area Boys Weight Lifter of the Year Abyu Perez from Seminole Ridge High School. (Bruce R. Bennett / The Palm Beach Post)

By Anthony Chiang

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Weight lifting is more than a hobby for Abyu Perez. The Seminole Ridge junior turns to the sport in times of need.

After watching his parents move to Fort Lauderdale, Perez was forced to move in with a friend and work 30 hours per week at an ice cream shop to pay for his living expenses. On top of all that, he takes college courses separate from his classes at Seminole Ridge.

Weight lifting has helped Perez get through it all.

“I like how it makes me feel,” Perez said. “Whether I’m angry or sad, I go into the weight room and it makes me feel better about myself.”

But in order to balance all of his responsibilities, Perez has been forced to sacrifice time in the weight room. On days he takes a college course at night, he’ll fit in a quick workout at 10 p.m in an attempt to stick to his routine.

“There aren’t many adults who can handle his schedule,” Seminole Ridge coach Justin Hilliker said. “He has a tough schedule with work, high school, college classes and a full-time weight lifting routine. I don’t know if I could do that. It’s a lot of work.”

Despite his busy schedule, Perez won the district title and placed third in the 129-pound division at the Class 2A state meet. Although Perez has placed third in the state meet in consecutive seasons, he has improved his numbers.

After lifting 460 in last year’s state meet, Perez lifted 480 pounds this year.

“He has made great strides,” Hilliker said. “The total that he finished with at state this year would have won state last year. The competition just got better.”

As a senior, Perez is expected to jump to the 139-pound division. He is also expected to contend for a state title.

“I would be shocked if he’s not a state champion next year,” Hilliker said.


Lloyd Chin, Royal Palm Beach, Sr., 119 pounds: Despite not making weight in district meet, still one of the best in his weight class.

Robert Hamm, Jupiter, Sr., 129 pounds: Lifted 440 pounds to place ninth in state finals.

Kristian Gonzalez, Seminole Ridge, Fr., 139 pounds: District champ lifted 445 pounds to finish 13th at state meet.

Jamie Purnell, Jupiter, Jr., 154 pounds: Matched his district total with 480 pounds to take 16th at state meet.

Brandon Bechtel, Park Vista, So., 169 pounds: Clean-and-jerk (260) paved way for fifth-place finish in state finals.

Azis Menocal, Seminole Ridge, Sr., 183 pounds: After winning district crown, lifted 610 pounds to take fifth at state.

E.J. Elien, Seminole Ridge, Sr., 199 pounds: Bench press helped football standout finish 11th at state, win district crown.

Kyle Beiber, Royal Palm Beach, Jr., 219 pounds: Lifted 600 pounds to finish second in a difficult district meet.

Marcos Fernandez, Seminole Ridge, So., 238 pounds: District champ put up 550 pounds to take 16th at state championships.

Josh Wilson, Royal Palm Beach, Sr., Heavyweight: The defensive lineman beat his own district total with 695 pounds to finish seventh at state meet.

Coach of the Year

Justin Hilliker, Seminole Ridge

Hawks lifters won six district titles and finished 14th as a team at state meet.

Second Team

Shane Laplante, Jupiter, Junior, 119 pounds

Josh Gonzalez, Palm Beach Central, Junior, 129 pounds

Mackenzie Brun, West Boca Raton, Senior, 139 pounds

Steven Brussot, Park Vista, Senior, 154 pounds

Anthony Munoz, Seminole Ridge, Senior, 169 pounds

John Parisi, West Boca Raton, Junior, 183 pounds

Alex Brousseau, Wellington, Sophomore, 199 pounds

Marques Gayot, Park Vista, Senior, 219 pounds

Micheal Ruess, Boca Raton, Junior, 238 pounds

Leonard Moore, Boca Raton, Senior, Heavyweight

Honorable Mention

Atlantic: Malone Decembre; John I. Leonard: Brandon Fanjul; Jupiter: Teddy Applegate; Lake Worth: William Mears, Clarence Theophle; Palm Beach Central: Jhanard Dorsett, Jacob Gregory, Albert Hernandez, Zikk Omoruyi, Devin Raiford; Palm Beach Lakes: Oshaye Rawls, Denzel Smith; Park Vista: Zander Bernard, Seth Jennings, Kyle Lasch, Dustin Ricter; Seminole Ridge: Patrick Brooks, Ryan Dunn, Brandon Romero, Kerrith Whyte; Village Academy: Jimcarry Jolicouer; Wellington: Grant Reilly, Sterling Valentine.


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