Dan PearsonBy J. Daniel Pearson
For Positively Osceola

Post-season action is in full swing for Osceola County schools this week, with Harmony weight lifter Adrianna Rosa headlining the effort as she goes for multiple state championships this week. A look around the county:

Rosa headlines a strong contingent of Osceola County lifers that will be in Pt. St. Joe on Thursday for the FHSAA Class 3A State Girls State Weightlifting Championships. Athletes will compete for titles in both the traditional bench press/clean and jerk and in the snatch competition.

After finishing second last year in states, Rosa is the top seed in both the traditional and snatch events. Other top seeds from Osceola County include St. Cloud’s Ashley Aun (#3 at 101) and Abby Davis (#2 at 110) and Celebration’s Helena Huyke (#3 at 119).

After a thrilling 3-2 overtime win over Olympia to capture the Class 7A, District 5 Championship, the undefeated Celebration Storm (11-0-4) were done no favors when the regional playoff schedule was announced. Ranked 14th in the state in Class 7A, the Storm will open regional play with a home game Wednesday night against Riverview Sarasota (11-1-4). Kickoff is 7 p.m.

If the Celebration survives that game, they will most likely run into Bradenton’s Lakewood Ranch (16-1-1) in the next round. Lakewood is the second-ranked team in the state.

It has been a solid year for the Storm, who has outscored opposition 50-9 this season. Fourteen different players have netted goals for the Storm, including eight each by underclassmen Mohammad Raky and Jose D’Lima.

Although it dropped a 1-0 decision to Ridge in its district title game, Harmony (12-6-2) did enough during the season to earn an at-large regional bid. They will be action Wednesday against powerful Viera (14-1-1). The winner of that game will face the Lake Gibson (10-6-2) vs. Lake Howell (12-2-3) winner on Saturday.

A late-season run where they defeated Lake Wales and New Smyrna Beach in the district tournament before falling to top-seeded Lake Minneola (11-3-4) in an overtime shootout was enough to secure Gateway (7-5-3) at the at-large regional bid in Class 5A State Tournament. A number eight seed in the region, the Panthers will open play on Wednesday at top-seeded Gainesville High (13-0-2).

Following district losses, the season ended for all girls’ county soccer teams last week. Gateway (8-3-2) and Harmony (9-6-1) finished the year with winning records.

With District Tournament starting in nine days, most county teams will spend the last weekend of the regular season in training. Harmony, which edged Osceola (205.5-195.5) in a thrilling Orange Belt Conference Tournament last weekend, will host senior night on Thursday against a solid Palm Bay Heritage team, starting with a junior varsity match at 6 p.m.

Behind 29 points from Emily Lockey, St. Cloud (18-8) defeated East Ridge (71-33) to win the Class 6A, District 6 Championship. Chad Ansbaugh’s team garnered a number three regional seed and will now move on to face #6 East River (18-2) on Thursday.

Trailing by just three at halftime, the Gateway Panthers (20-7) struggled in the second half and fell to powerful Lake Wales in the Class 5A, District 7 Finals by a score of 56-40. Despite the loss, Gateway was selected for one of four at-large regional spots and will be in action Thursday with a game against Ocala’s Lake Weir (13-9).

All eight county teams, as well as City of Life Christian Academy, will be in action this week as district play opens. The schedule includes Osceola (16-5) facing the winner of Lake Nona/Freedom on Wednesday night in a 7A, District 9 matchup. Tohopekaliga (10-10) will play Cypress Creek in the other semifinal at Lake Nona High.

In Class 6A, District 6 action on Tuesday, St. Cloud (4-21) plays East Ridge and Poinciana (6-13) hosts Liberty (4-14). Harmony (16-9) receives a first-round bye and will play the Poinciana/Liberty winner on Wednesday night.

Celebration (11-9) plays West Orange in a Tuesday quarterfinal. If the Storm moves on, they would play nationally ranked Dr. Phillips in a Wednesday semifinal of Class 7A, District 5. #3 Gateway (17-7) plays #5 Lake Wales in Class 5A District 7 match-up; while City of Life (19-6) will be at home on Wednesday night in the semifinals, where they will host third-seeded Faith Christian in a Class 2A, District 8 semifinal.

To move on automatically, teams must win their district championship; however, four at-large bids in each region are awarded to non-district winners. Osceola’s resume is most likely strong enough to survive a district loss; while Gateway, Harmony, and COLCA are close.