PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) – The Arnold girls weightlifting team is looking to carry the momentum of their region title down to Lakeland for the FHSAA State Championships.

Four Arnold lifters qualified to state in both Traditional and Olympic; Sandra Varga (101), Ronny Lashley (139), Madi Middleton (183), and Emma Gibson (UNL), and two Arnold lifters qualified for one event; Jewel Marino (119) Traditional, Kennedy McAuliff (139) Olympic.

After winning three-consecutive state titles in the years prior, last season was considered a “down year” for the Lady Marlins.

Arnold senior Madi Middleton said winning the region title gave the confidence to show other teams that they’re the real deal.

Yeah, we rebuilt last year, but we’re back,” Middleton said. “And we are still the Arnold program that has produced so many state championships and most back-to-back probably ever.”

Arnold won the Olympic and Traditional events at the Class 2A Region 1 meet, but senior Jewel Marino said it was far from their best outing.

“It was shocking, honestly, because it was not the best day for any of us,” Marino said. “I can’t tell you one girl that went out there and was like, ‘That’s the best day I’ve had in a long time.'”

As the Lady Marlins prepare for state, Middleton said getting on top of the podium is their only goal.

“I think that’s not what we deserve, but we earned it,” Middleton said. “We put in a lot of hard work. 6 a.m. practice coming in here every day after school. I just want Arnold to leave with points on the board and state and come home with some medals.”

Arnold will compete in the FHSAA State Championships on Saturday, February 18, in Lakeland.