District wrestling duals and a huge girls’ basketball showdown on Tuesday afternoon between St. Cloud (13-2) and Hagerty (12-1) highlight the local sports schedule as the second half of the winter sports schedule gets underway this week.   

Here is a look around the county:


Although they were without the services of leading scorer Haley Collins for five of the last six games, the St. Cloud Lady Bulldogs had a successful Holiday season, going 5-1 overall in winning the Mike Doyle Classic in Melbourne before Christmas and placing second in the Jim Clark Memorial Tournament at Bishop Moore High after Christmas.

The Lady Bulldogs posted a 68-39 win over Orange Park in the quarterfinals, before defeating Mercyhurst (Erie, Pa.) in the semis, 68-39.  Without Collins, St. Cloud struggled against host Bishop Moore in the finals, 68-42 – but the Lady Bulldogs still enter the second half of the season with a solid 13-2 record.

Head Coach Chad Ansbaugh said he was “fairly pleased with the start” his team has gotten off to, but says he will know a lot more about his team in the next 30 days.  “We start off the New Year with a great Hagerty team on Tuesday night (game time 5 p.m.) and our schedule gets considerably tougher for the rest of the month with games against Palm Bay, Oviedo, and others.  On the bright side, almost every player got to play in every game to date, so it was great experience for them and it allowed the coaches to set a rotation moving forward. “

Gateway is also off to a fantastic start.  

Coach Justin Marino’s team is 13-2 overall, but will also face some stiff challenges in the coming weeks, including games with Lake Minneola (9-3) on Jan. 6, Central Florida Christian Academy (12-3) on Jan. 10 and an outstanding Lake Mary (14-3) squad on Jan. 12.

“The Central Florida Christian game should be a good one, as being a private school they were able to upgrade both their coaching staff and their talent from last year.   Being a road game will add to the challenge,” Marino said.  “With the exception of the St. Cloud game in the tournament last week, we’re playing at a pretty good level at the break.  We will be challenged in January though.”

Both teams are probably favored to meet in the championship game when the Orange Belt Conference Tournament is contested, Jan. 17-20.   

Harmony is off to a 7-2 start this season; other records include Osceola (4-6), Liberty (0-11), Tohopekaliga (3-5), Celebration (1-6) and Poinciana (4-6).

Girls Basketball Schedule:  Tuesday:  Hagerty at St. Cloud (5 p.m.); Wednesday:  Melbourne at Harmony (7 p.m.); Thursday:  St. Cloud at Heritage (7 p.m.); Tohopekaliga at Celebration (5:30 p.m.); Hagerty at Liberty (7 p.m.) Friday:  St. Cloud Prepatory at Celebration (5:30 p.m.); Faith Christian at Osceola (6 p.m.); Flagler Palm Coast at Liberty (6 p.m.)


Local teams will look to advance to regionals, when the Florida High School Athletic Association Dual Meet Districts are held this week.  Favored Osceola will compete in the Class 3A, District 5 dual championships at Celebration on Thursday, Jan. 4 at 10:30 a.m.  The Storm and Poinciana will also compete.  Harmony will be favored to win the Class 3A, District 9 dual meet hosted by Tohopekaliga on Saturday at 9:30 a.m.  Gateway will participate in the 1A, District 6 tournament on Thursday at Mt. Dora.  St. Cloud has elected not to participate in the dual championships this year and as an independent, Liberty is not eligible.

The top two teams in each district advance to regionals next week at various sites around the state.  Osceola will host the all-classification (3A-1A) State Dual meet championship tournament at Osceola’s home gym on Jan. 20-21.  

Both the Kowboys and Harmony are highly favored to win their respective districts and advance to regionals.  Tohopekaliga is expected to battle Freedom for the at-large bid in District 9. 

Holiday tournament action concluded last week as Osceola sent four wrestlers to the prestigious Powerade Tournament in Cannonsburg, Pa.; while Harmony participated in the Hammer Tournament in Oakleaf High School and St. Cloud participated in the Palm Bay Duals last week.

The Powerade featured some of the top wrestlers in the nation, with 50 nationally ranked competitors.  Senior Cooper Haase had a great showing, reaching the finals where he lost a 5-2 decision to Ty Watters of West Alleghany, Pa.  Haase got to the finals by defeating several outstanding competitors, including a 3-1 semifinal upset over second-seeded Cross Wasilewski (Delbarton High-New Jersey).   Watters is currently ranked fourth in the nation in his weight class.  “Cooper got caught early but fought back,” Osceola coach Rick Tribit said.  “He was down three going into the final period and we elected to start on the bottom, figuring an escape and takedown would be our best chance to tie the score.  To Watters credit, however, he was able to ride Cooper out for the entire final period.”

Anderson Heap picked up 7th place points for the Kowboys, winning three matches.  He lost a tough 7-4 decision to third-seeded Cameron Catrabone (Williamsville North-New York) in the fourth round on a controversial call.  “A tough call went against him or he would have a legitimate shot at a top four placement,” Tribit added.  

Harmony’s Shawn McAllister (138) and Nelson Toro (285) won championships; while Rey Ortiz (132) took second as the Longhorns piled up 193.5 points and finished in second place behind Fleming Island at the Hammer Tournament.

At the Ship Duels in Palm Bay, St. Cloud got third place finishes from Luc Beaulieu (113), Nathan Huron (138), Aiden Johnson (185) and Andrew  Andrew Colantanio.


Boys basketball get back into full swing this week with 11 games involving county schools on the schedule.  The big games include a resurgent Osceola team, winners of three of their last four, playing at Gateway on Tuesday night.  Poinciana (6-2) at Gateway on Thursday is another rivalry game of note.

Most county teams were off last week, however, Harmony (8-3) participated in the Sunshine State Explosion Tournament in South Florida.  The Longhorns lost a 53-52 heartbreaking overtime game to Miami Monsignor Pace in the opening game before coming back with a big 16-point win over Coconut Creek in the third place game.

Boys Basketball Schedule:  Tuesday:  Osceola at Gateway (7:30 p.m.), Hagerty at St. Cloud (6:30 p.m.);

Wednesday:  Tohopekaliga at Celebration (6 p.m.); Thursday:  Poinciana at Gateway (7:30 p.m.), Hagerty at Liberty (7:30 p.m.), Harmony at Cornerstone Charter (7:30 p.m.); South Lake at St. Cloud (7:30 p.m.); Osceola at Colonial, (7 p.m.); Friday:  Harmony at St. Cloud (7:30 p.m.), Celebration at Liberty (7:30 p.m.)

ALL SPORTS:  The Orlando Sentinel listed their all region teams for fall sports for the 2022 season and athletes from Osceola County were well represented.  The All-Region teams cover Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake and East Volusia counties.

Headlining the list was Osceola defensive tackle John Walker, who not only earned first team honors but was selected as the area’s Defensive Player of the Year.  Walker is already enrolled at UCF. Other first team honorees included Kowboys offensive lineman Jamarion McCrimon and running back Taevion Swint.  Defensive backs Bo Mascoe (Rutgers) and Ja’Keem Jackson (Florida) were selected to the Sentinel’s second team; as was Tohopekaliga’s Nick Rawls Jr.

Lady Kowboys volleyball stars Cate Palmi and Alex Liggeri, who helped Osceola to a Final Four appearance this year, were named to the Sentinel’s first unit All-Region volleyball team.  

St. Cloud’s Gunner Green was selected All-Region in boys golf; while Harmony’s Joel Jean and Tohopekaliga Johan Comacho  to the boys’ cross country team.