The view from the press box

The Lead In

Navarre’s boys weightlifting team has been a force in the sport over the last two seasons. The Raiders have won nearly every meet it has competed in, including winning a state championship in 2019. The only non-first-place finish for the Raiders in that stretch? A runner-up finish at state in 2018.

The 2020 season got off to a great start for Navarre Wednesday as it rolled through the Northwest Florida Invitational in Baker.

Fifteen lifters placed in the top six, with Christian Bumgardner (129), Johnnie Neal (139), Robert Stephens (154) and Xayvion Thomas (199) all taking first in their respective weight classes.

This team has a much different look this season after being hit hard by graduation but the expectations haven’t changed.

However, this team knows it still has a lot of work to do in the weeks ahead in its quest to win a second consecutive title.

“We have a long way to go but winning (at Baker) is a great start,” said Garrett Bagley, who coaches the team along with Jay Walls. “We know we are on the right track, but as a coach, I know we still have a lot to work on.”

Better than last year

Navarre’s girls weightlifting team was hoping to bring home the state championship for the first time since 2018. But the Raiders came up a little short of that goal, finishing second to back-to-back champion Sunlake last Saturday in Panama City Beach.

The Raiders were seventh a year ago and to nearly rise back to the top without the aid of a single state champion helping its point total is impressive. Navarre scored 26 points. Sunlake finished with 28.

Navarre family

“I’m a little disappointed, but the only reason is because I want the ultimate reward for them,” Bagley said. “I know the work they put into it. But I’m super proud of them.”

Of the 19 that qualified for state, eight will return, including four that finished in the top 10 in their respective weight classes. Jelina Bly was fourth at 110 pounds, Jada Thomas took fifth at 154 pounds, Macy Payne finished seventh at 183 pounds and Amira Marshall took 10th in the unlimited division. They will help set the tone for a run at the title next season.

Lacrosse Makes History

Navarre’s girls lacrosse team played its first game in program history Wednesday night and fell 8-1 to Washington at the NYSA football field.

But the players were thrilled just to finally get the historic first season underway and had a good attitude about the opening game despite coming off the field without a win.

Erin Travers scored the first goal ever for the Raiders and she has an interesting tie to Navarre sports history. You can read more about that in this week’s edition of the paper.

Play Ball

The Raider baseball and softball teams start their season this week. Navarre’s softball team opened with a 13-5 win over Fort Walton Beach on the road Tuesday. The baseball team plays its first game tonight against Crestview at home. Game time is 7 p.m.

You Ready for Some Football?

Navarre’s flag football team begins its second season in program history next month and the Raiders are hoping to build off the foundation they laid a year ago.

The team has been practicing for the last couple of weeks now and has good mix of new and returning talent. The Raiders kick off their season March 2 against Chiles in Tallahassee. Read more about the team in next week’s issue of the Navarre Press.

Brian Out Loud!

In this week’s column I take a look back at the progress Navarre’s girls basketball team made this past season under the direction of third-year head coach Abby Fogg.

Navarre won 13 games, the most since 2016. Next week’s column looks back on my weekend in Tallahassee and Panama City Beach for regional soccer and state girls weightlifting.

Shout out

Give it up for the Navarre boys basketball team. Though the Raider fell short of its goal of winning a district title and advancing to the regional, they set a school record for wins (18) and that isn’t bad at all considering this was a program that won only three games the year before. The success certainly sets Navarre up to build on that success next season.

Blue Wahoos Countdown

It won’t be long before the Pensacola Blue Wahoos are playing baseball again. Each week in the Navarre Press you’ll find a countdown to opening day feature. The Blue Wahoos start their ninth season in franchise history April 9 against Tennessee at Blue Wahoos Stadium.

This Day in Sports History

On Feb. 21, 1968, an agreement is made between baseball players and club owners to increase the minimum salary for major league players to $10,000 a year. Also, on this day in 1986, Rollie Fingers refused to shave off his mustache to comply with the policy of the Cincinnati Reds ahead of spring training and ended up retiring instead.

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