Raiders hoping to jam to state championship tune

Rap or Rock?

That was the question Garrett Bagley posed to Jacobi Smith prior to the start of a mid-day workout a week before Friday’s 2A state weightlifting meet at Arnold High School in Panama City Beach.

Smith chose rock.

But had he chosen rap, or really, any other brand of music, that wouldn’t have been the most important thing.

What matters most is the goal in front of Navarre, which is to win the first state championship in program history.

Navarre was the runner-up a year ago. It heads to Panama City Beach this weekend determined to finish the job.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling. This year is a new year,” Smith said.

Smith is one of nine lifters competing at state this weekend.

The Raiders qualified 11, tying a school record, but Dante Wright and Evan Gourley, both seniors, must compete in the district track meet – scheduled for the same day in Santa Rosa Beach – or their seasons are over.

A state title once seemed unrealistic for the Raiders.

Smith remembers when he and his fellow senior teammates started working out in the weight room in eighth grade.

Since then, they have helped put the Raiders on the map in boys weightlifting, leading the program to three district and regional titles and a state runner-up finish the year after scoring no points at state.

Read the full article in the April 11 issue of Navarre Press. Subscribe online at for as little as $38 per year.

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