ZEPHYRHILLS — Malik Mutcherson is tired of going to the boys state weightlifting meet and coming back empty handed.
He wants a place on the podium, a medal around his neck.
The Zephyrhills High senior has been to state tournament twice before, and this year, the boys state weightlifting meet will be at the Kissimmee Civic Center. Mutcherson already has plans for a return trip to state, but this time he wants to bring home some gold.
“I’m tired of being mediocre,’’ the 5-foot-9 Mutcherson said. “I’m getting ready to win. I know that I can.”
Mutcherson puts up impressive numbers in the 183-pound class. He had a 300-pound bench press and a 250-pound clean and jerk.
He has lifted all four years and played running back for the Bulldogs’ football team. Mutcherson is still hoping to earn a football scholarship and a chance to attend college, but he is working on improving his grades.
Zephyrhills coach Greg Mathis is convinced Mutcherson is worthy of a medal, especially since Mutcherson is the type of pure athlete every coach wants on a team.
“His work ethic is excellent,’’ Mathis said. “I am impressed with his dedication. His leadership is also impressive. He helps the younger lifters. He is an all-around good kid.”
Mutcherson credits his already achieved success to Mathis, calling him the “greatest coach,” but there is no doubt Mutcherson has put in the time, effort and passion to earn a state medal.
The physical ability and mental capability are there, as are the long hours in the gym.
So, perhaps for Mutcherson, the third time at state will truly be the charm.
“I really love this sport,’’ Mutcherson said. “I bought into it. I fell in love with it when I started. Whatever I want to do, I try to be the best at it.”
Correspondent Larry Bugg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.