Osceola County will be well represented as many athletes and teams from local high schools will participate in FHSAA Swimming and Cross County Regionals starting on Friday at various sites. It is the final step for these teams or individuals to qualify for their state championships.

Osceola County runningOsceola High School hosted the Class 4A, District 5 Cross Country Championships last Saturday and the county saw two of its teams advance to regionals based on the results. In the Girls 5K Race, Harmony (144) finished fifth overall and Celebration (163) finished seventh overall to advance to next Saturday’s Region 3 Championship which will be hosted by Tohopekaliga High School at Austin Tindall Park. The Regional Championships begin at 7:30 a.m.

Timber Creek (55) claimed the district championship; Winter Park (72) was second, followed by Viera (88). The top eight teams advanced to the Regional Meet, along with the top three finishers of non-qualifying teams. Amber Schultz of Timber Creek won individual honors, covering the 5K distance in 18:30.9. Harmony was led by a fourth-place finish by freshman Lailana Decker (19:17.1) and a seventh-place showing by Alaine Rivera. Overall, Harmony placed five runners in the top 50.

The Storm had a third-place finish by Catalina Edwards (19:13.6). Camile Burrios (22:09) and Hefina Oliver (22:09.5) helped Celebration advance by finishing in 33rd and 34th place respectively. Tohopekaliga’s Amari Whetro finished 39th overall (22:16.4) and Kelliana Mack was Osceola’s top finisher in 57th place at 23:38 but did not finish high enough to advance as individuals.

In the Boys’ District Meet, Viera’s Mike Toppi’s 15:29.5 time took first overall; as the Hawks swept the top four places and easily claimed the District Title with 24 points. Tohopekaliga was second overall with 108 and advance to the Region 3 Championship along with seventh place Celebration (158).

The Tigers Julian Pomales (16:31.7) finished sixth in the race. Tohopekaliga also had a 10th place finish by Johan Comacho and a 24th place showing by Javan Medina. Celebration had a fifth-place finish by OBC Champion Jarad Falchook and a 23rd place finish by James Cooper. Top 50 placers Evan Amaya and Sebastian Valez also helped the Storm advance.

St. Cloud (10th), Harmony (11th), Osceola (13th), and Poinciana (14th) saw its seasons come to an end, but Longhorns runner Joel Jean (7th – 16:33.3) and Bulldog runner John Ortiz (20th-17:23.9) will advance as individuals.

In swimming, the Celebration boys easily won the Class 4A, District 4 Championship at George Jenkins High School by piling up 522 points to easily out-distance second-place Strawberry Crest (333). Strawberry Fields (443) won the girls title, Celebration (309) was third.

The top two finishers in each event at regionals automatically qualify for the state championship; with 16 at-large spots awarded based on time.

Among the automatic qualifiers from Celebration include Felipe Costa who won two individual events, taking first in the 100-free (44.72) and he also blew away the completion in his specialty the 100-back, winning that event in 52.35 – more than seven seconds faster than the second-place finisher. Costa also swan legs on Celebration’s winning 200-medley relay and 200-free relay.

Roman Sukhorukov won the 200-free for the Storm and also swam a leg on both winning relay teams. Brandon Cunningham won the 50-free and also participated in the winning relays. The other county winner in the District 4 Championship was Osceola’s Abigail Maniace that won the girls 100-back in 1:01.81.

Several county swimmers were guaranteed to advance based on finishes – including Celebration’s Greg Kamensky (2nd, 100-free) and Osceola’s Anthony Ambroji (2nd – 50-Free); Brandon Cunningham of Celebration (2nd) will advance in the 100-fly; as will the Storm’s 400-free relay team (John Bisignano, Cooper Odom, Nick Riveros, and Jack Ozerovitch) based on their second-place finish.

Harmony hosted the District 8, Region 3 Meet; where Tohopekaliga also participated. Both the Longhorns boys (419) and girls (368.5) finished in second place to state-power Jupiter (572/584) in that meet. Tohopekaliga was sixth in both divisions.

Clinching automatic qualifying spots for regionals for the Longhorns were Amelia Wagner (girls diving -1st), the Boys’ 200-meter relay team (2nd), Alexander Tanon (200-free 2nd), Tanner Hinman (boys diving – 2nd), and the Harmony boys’ 400-relay team.

As with Celebration, Harmony most likely will have several other members of its girls and boys team advance to regionals based on their finishes.
At the Class 3A, District 4 meet in Gainesville, the Gateway Panthers had a 5th place finish by the girls (203) and 4th place finish by the boys (185). St. Cloud finished seventh (185) in the girls meet and 9th (58) in the boys meet.

Maryam and Selma Elfakir had big meets for the Lady Panthers, going 1-2 in both the 50-free and 100-free. Both swam legs on the 200-free relay and 400-free relays for Gateway, which will advance both teams based on first and second place finished in those two races. Gateway’s Delynn McDonald advances in the 100-fly with his winning time of 53.53 and St. Cloud’s Silas Corchado (288.5) finished second in diving to advance.

Many other swimmers from Osceola County are expected to qualify for at-large spots which will be announced later this week. Celebration and Osceola will compete in the Class 4A, Region 2 Meet in Sarasota; Tohopekaliga and Harmony will compete in the Class 4A, Region 3 meet in Boca Raton; while Gateway and St. Cloud will compete in the Class 3A, Region 2 meet in Land O’Lakes. All of those region meets are slated for Friday.