Christmas is rapidly approaching but that doesn’t mean local high school athletes will be slacking off anytime soon. Osceola will host one of the top wrestling invitations in the country with the 13th edition of the Knockout Christmas Classic on Dec. 20-22 at Silver Spurs Arena, while Harmony boys’ basketball team will face two huge challenges at home.

Here is a look at this week’s high school sports scene:


Osceola will host one of the most prestigious high school wrestling events in the country this week as the 11th Annual Knockout Christmas Classic at Silver Spurs Arena, Dec. 20-22.   The event will feature more than 60 teams from 10 different states.  The field includes eight defending team state champions – including all three Florida winners in South Dade (AAA), Lake Gibson (AA) and Jensen Beach (A).  

In all, the tournament will feature 54 high school wrestlers that have won an astonishing 78 state championships. More than 200 participants have reached the podium (Top 8) of their state tournament a year ago.

The quality of the field is readily apparent in the 126-lb. weight class, where nationally ranked Sebastian Degennnaro — a two-time Class AA state champion from Jensen Beach, Fla. – leads a stacked weight class that includes 11 different state champions.   South Dade’s Sawyer Bartelt, another nationally ranked wrestler at 225, is a three-time state and a three-time Knockout Classic champion and has placed at the nationals in Fargo, ND four times.

Osceola’s top prospects are Anderson Heap and Gunner Holland.  Heap will be the top seed at 157; while Holland is seeded third at 175.

“For fans of high school wrestling this is one of the best tournaments you will ever see,” Osceola Coach and Tournament Director Rick Tribit said. “Each class has multiple state champions and a lot of them have nationally ranked wrestlers in them.”

In action last weekend, Harmony (336 points) won their own Longhorn Rotary Classic over eight other teams.   Tohopekaliga (167.5) was third and St. Cloud (106.5) was sixth.  Led by Shawn McCallister at the 150-lbs. weight class, Harmony posted eight weight class champions in the individual bout tournament, including Nathan Lytle (106), Max Butler (120), Landon Davis (136), Carlos Estrada (138), Jeremiah Gomez (157), John Fernandez (175) and Seth Seruto (190).  In going 3-0 with three pins, Fernandez improved to 18-1 on the season; McCallister also had three falls in remaining undefeated (17-0) on the season.  Max Barrett (15-1) won the 160-lb. weight class for Tohopekaliga and the Tigers had four other wrestlers finish second.  Nate Huron (11-0) won an individual championship for St. Cloud at 132.

Osceola was scheduled to wrestle in a tournament at Palm Bay this past weekend but had to scramble to find some action when the event was cancelled last week.  The Kowboys ended up in the Johnny Rouse Duals in Oviedo, where they finished fourth in a tournament that included state power Hagerty and national power Camden (NJ).   Heap (157) and Holland (175) each went 5-0 in the matches to remain undefeated on the season. 


Harmony, last year’s district champion, continues to play some solid hoops this season and checks in with a 6-2 record.  The Longhorns, led by Vic Terrado’s 16.8 ppg, have already defeated county rivals Osceola, St. Cloud, Tohopekaliga and Gateway this season.  They will face stiff challenges at home this week, taking on Sebastian River (6-1) on Tuesday night and long-time regional power Centennial (7-2) on Thursday.

Jordan Mundle scored 19 and Luke McCrimon added 17 as Osceola pushed its record to 3-5 with a 55-54 win over Poinciana last Thursday.  The Kowboys keep up their tough schedule this week, hosting the Kowboy Classic, Dec. 19-21.  They will face Forest High School at 7 p.m. in the opening round.  Artesia (California), the high school team of James Harden, and Poinciana are scheduled to participate in the eight-team, 3-day tournament.  

With big wins over Liberty (74-42) and Nazareth Christian (74-46), St. Cloud (6-2 on season), continues its quest for the school’s first winning season in more than two decades.  Junior Alex Springs (17.7 ppg) continues to lead the Bulldogs.


After a three-game skid, St. Cloud has won five games in a row and St. Cloud (9-3) will take on Lake Nona (2-6) on Tuesday night before breaking for Christmas.  Seniors Emily Lockey (15.4 ppg) and Danzy Mantilla (9.1 ppg) have been leading the way in scoring for the Lady Bulldogs.

Despite losing leading scorer Malayna Stevenson, who is expected to miss at least three more weeks with a severe ankle injury, Gateway was 6-1 this year and is off until participating in a Holiday Tournament after Christmas.

With a 57-36 win over Lake Nona last week, Coach Jen Farrell has Tohopekaliga (6-1) off to its best start in school history. Celebration improved to 4-5 on the season as Evelyn Juden scored 29 in a 62-26 win over Trinity Prep.


All public schools are off until after the Christmas break.  After upending Celebration in the Orange Belt Conference finals two weeks ago, Harmony (7-3-0) had  rough week losing to regional powers Lake Mary and Lake Howell last week by scores of 8-0 and 4-1.  Celebration (9-2-0 on the season) rebounded from the Longhorn loss with wins over Foundation Academy and Osceola by scores of 3-0 and 8-0.  Led by Emely Rodriguez’s 18 goals, Tohopekaliga was 9-3-0 on the season with wins over Oak Ridge and Liberty.  Poinciana was the only other Osceola County team with a record of .500 or better; the Eagles where 4-4-1 with wins over Liberty (4-0) and Discovery (6-3) last week.  Other team records at the break include Osceola (1-9-0), St. Cloud (4-7-0), Gateway (3-6-0), and Liberty (0-9-0).


As with the girls’, all boys teams in Osceola are done playing until the athletes return from the Holiday Break.  The upcoming boy’s Orange Belt Conference Championship (Jan. 16-19) promises to be exciting as six of the eight county teams took a .500 record or better into the break.

The two top teams from a year ago, Celebration (2-2-2) and Gateway (6-1-0) had different records, but the Storm’s slow start could be attributed to both graduation losses and an extremely ambitious schedule.  The Storm got two goals from Josa Mora last week in closing out their first half with a 6-0 win over Orlando Science.  The Panthers got a goal from Nik Restrepo in beating Osceola, 1-0, to win their fourth in a row and drop the Kowboys to  3-2-0.  Other county teams with winning records included Tohopekaliga (8-2-0), Poinciana (5-2-0), and St. Cloud (5-2-2).   As with Celebration, a tough schedule has hurt Harmony – who sat at 4-7-0 on the season.  Liberty is winless in 13 matches to date.


Current and former St. Cloud athletes had a tremendous showing at an USA Weightlifting national qualifier last week.

Senior Ashley Aun (already a 3-time state qualifier) placed 5th overall in a very competitive weight class finishing with a 145lb clean and jerk at a bodyweight of just 107lbs.  Sophomore Reese Butler won a silver medal and two gold medals at the American Open.

2020 St. Cloud State Champion Kaylin White won 3 gold medals to sweep her weight class in the open division.

Junior Mikey Ziss (and already two-time defending high school state champion) won an astounding SIX gold medals at the American Open, he won all the youth AND open medals beating all age groups.  For his efforts, U.S.A. Weightlifting selected him to represent TEAM U.S.A. at the Youth WORLD Championships in Lima, Peru in May. 

Former St. Cloud 2017 State Champion Josh Piasecki also qualified for three international competitions (youth Pan Ams, junior Pan Ams, and Junior Worlds) and Ziss joins him for this elite distinction.  

This Week’s Schedule

Monday (12/18)

  • Harmony at Cypress Creek, GBB, 7 p.m.
  • Cornerstone Charter Academy at Osceola, GBB, 6 p.m.

Tuesday (12/19)

  • Sebastian River at Harmony, BBB, 7 p.m.
  • St. Cloud at Lake Nona, GBB, 7 p.m.
  • Harmony at Winter Park, GBB, 7 p.m.
  • Osceola at Edgewater, GBB, 7:30 p.m.

 Wednesday (12/20)

  • Centennial at Harmony, BBB, 7 p.m.
  • Ocala Forest at Osceola, BBB, Kowboys Invitational, 6 p.m.
  • Artesia (CA) vs. Poinciana, BBB, 7:30 p.m.
  • Gateway at Father Lopez, BBB, 7 p.m.
  • Knockout Christmas Classic, Wrestling, Silver Spurs Arena, All Day

Thursday (12/21)

  • Opponent vs. Osceola, BBB, Kowboys Invitational, TBA
  • Opponent vs. Poinciana, BBB, Kowboys Invitational, TBA
  • Episcopal School of Jacksonville at Gateway, BBB, 3 p.m.
  • Knockout Christmas Classic, Wrestling, Silver Spurs Arena, All Day
  • Harmony at Oak Hill Hammer Tournament (Wrestling) All-Day

Friday (12/22)

  • Opponent vs. Osceola, BBB, Kowboys Invitational, TBA
  • Opponent vs. Poinciana, BBB, Kowboys Invitational, TBA
  • Freedom at Harmony, GBB, 7 p.m.
  • Knockout Christmas Classic, Wrestling, Silver Spurs Arena, All Day