By: J. Daniel Pearson for Positively Osceola
Although official practices for winter sports began on Monday, it was a really busy week for fall sports in Osceola County. It began with the St. Cloud girls’ golf team making history; and while the boys’ cross country team from Tohopekaliga earned a trip to the state cross country meet next week in Tallahassee.
Here is a look around Osceola County:
The St. Cloud girls golf team not only earned a third straight trip to the FHSAA Class 3A State Golf Championships but set a little bit of history in the process by earning a fourth place finish at the event — the highest ever by an Osceola team—boys or girls.
Overall, the Lady Bulldogs finished with a two-day total of 332-327-659 — losing out on the bronze medal by just four shots to Niceville (655). As expected, Lake Mary ran away with the state title (600), Doral was second (653).
The two-day, 36-hole event was played over the challenging 5,500-yard, Par 72 course at Mission Inn.
Leading the way for St. Cloud was sophomore Karolyna Adams (78-79-157) and senior Cayden Challacombe (82-78-160). Also posting counting scores were Maddie Burda (82-80-162) and Tess Sheive (90-90-180). Olivia Siegel (99-103-202) rounded out the team for St. Cloud.
“It was a great finish to a great season,” St. Cloud coach Alejandro Sanchez said. “It was bittersweet only in one respect. Late in the second round we had a chance to climb all the way into second place and faltered just a bit. Still we won the St. Cloud Invitational, as well as Orange Belt Conference and Districts championships. We tied for a regional title, before losing in a playoff and then had an all-time high finish of fourth at states. Our players worked so hard all year and now it is time to celebrate their achievements.”
Although the Celebration boys’ fell short of qualifying in a super tough regional, Storm senior George Aguilera managed to advance to the FHSAA Class 3A state championship where he shot a solid 76-79-155 to place in a tie for 36th.
The 2023 season ended on a high note for both St. Cloud and Tohopekaliga, as the Bulldogs and Tigers recorded Bowl Wins last Wednesday night.
Junior Logan King tossed five touchdown passes as St. Cloud (8-3) defeated Lake Region, 45-6. The win, the Bulldogs’ sixth consecutive, gave them eight wins for the first time since 2009. Sophomore quarterback Sabby Meassick threw for 338 yards and three touchdowns in Tohopekaliga’s 49-9 Bowl Win over Lake Howell. Meassick finishes his second year with 3,843 passing yards, 39 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in pacing the Tigers to a 6-5 record.
Osceola (4-7) ended its season in the state playoffs with a 28-0 loss to Treasure Coast. “It was a tough year by our standards. We had a lot of things go wrong for us this season, but we offer no excuses and I was proud of the way we fought through adversity all season,” Coach Eric Pinellas said. “We have a lot of good players coming back and we’ll regroup this spring.”
Regional action was held this past weekend with the Tohopekaliga boys’ squad earning the trip to the FHSAA Class 4A state championship by virtue of an sixth place finish. Cameron Ford (26th-17:44), Marc Rodriguez (30th-17:52), Jeremy Delgado (36th-18:06), Nick Boone (46th-18:23) and Jared Lopez (56th-18:40) all turned in outstanding times as the Tigers easily qualified for the state meet with 194 points. State power Vero Beach won the regional, which was held at Austin Tindall Park in Kissimmee.
Harmony (12th) and St. Cloud (14th) also participated in the meet, but failed to qualify for states as a team. Top runners in 5K race for the Longhorns included Anakin Barbour (38th-18:09) and freshman Riley Ramirez (55th-18:29). Freshman Brody Ansbaugh (63rd-18:40) was the top individual finisher for St. Cloud.
St. Cloud (11th) and Harmony (13th) participated in the girls’ regional, which was won by Winter Park. While neither the Bulldogs or Longhorns were able to advance to the state championship; Harmony junior Lailana Decker moved on as an individual by virtue of her 8th place finish overall in 19:54.2.
Top girl runners from Osceola County included Celebration’s Claire Reburn (25th-21:41) and Cadence Edwards from Harmony (36th-21:41). Kyla Perez (47th – 22:00) and Jada Shroyer (60th-22:31) led the Bulldogs contingent.
The Tohopekaliga boys team and Decker will now compete in the FHSAA Class 4A State Championship with Friday at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee on Friday.
The FAST facility in Ocala, Fla. was the host site of the FHSAA Class 4A Swimming and Diving championships last Friday.
Harmony’s Meredith Wagner (seeded 11th) and Haley Kurth (seeded 15th) exceeded expectations – placing 4th (15 points) and 7th (7 points) respectively to give the Longhorns 22 points and secure a 25th place team finish. On the boys’ side, Longhorn diver Angel Acedvedo placed 13th overall to account for all of Harmony’s team points in a 34th place finish.
Other county qualifiers for the 4A state meet included Harmony’s Aaron Stephenson (50 and 100 free) and Celebration freshman Mahmoud Morcy, who qualified in the 100 back. St. Cloud’s Silas Gorchado qualified for the 50-free in 3A State Championship; where he finished 23rd.