By:  J. Daniel Pearson
For Positively Osceola

Three more Orange Belt Conference Championships will be contested this week in the sports of Softball, Boys’ Volleyball, and Track 

On Wednesday, St. Cloud High hosts the annual Track and Field Championships.  Harmony is the defending champion in the event, winning last year’s girls’ championship (191 points) over St. Cloud (112.50) and Celebration (111); while the Longhorns boys’ team (176.5) edged Tohopekaliga (155) and Celebration (88).  Both Longhorn teams will most likely be favored to repeat as OBC champs.

The OBC Softball Tournament is scheduled for this week, with St. Cloud serving as the host school for the third place and championship games on Friday evening.  First round games are on Monday; with championship and consolation rounds on Wednesday.  In addition to Friday’s championship game, the fifth and seventh place games will be held on the campus of the highest seeds among the consolation bracket schools.

Celebration is the top seed in the boys OBC Championship this week and will receive a first round bye.  The Storm is also the host and will hold the third place and championship games on Thursday.

Here is a look around the high school sports world:


Osceola County will be well represented when the FHSAA State Championship meet is held in Lakeland next Friday and Saturday.  In the Traditional Meet, consisting of the Clean-and-Jerk and Bench Press, our county will be represented by regional champions from St. Cloud High in Michael Ziss (119-lb. weight class), and Noah Carr (219); Harmony regional champs Brayden Adams (183), Anthony Rodriguez (199), and Joshua Moss (238); and Osceola High regional champ Brandon Rosa (Unlimited).  A week after finishing second to St. Cloud in the district championship, Harmony upended the Bulldogs (39-38) to win the Region 4 team championship.

The Olympic Meet (consisting of the clean and jerk and snatch) was all St. Cloud as they tallied 74 points to easily outdistance Harmony (39) for the team title.  All six county regional champions in the Olympic hailed from St. Cloud, as double gold medalists Ziss (119) and Carr (219) were joined by teammates Kaleb Perez (183), Dylan Hayes (199), Bobby Madden (238) and Conner Howes (Unlimited).   

In addition to four regional champions in each weight class, the top 16 finishers by total weight lifted across all four regions will earn at-large spots in the state tournament.  With that in mind, several other lifters from the county will most likely be in the state championship field when the finalists are announced on Monday.

“We thought Olympic Heights would give us a battle in the Olympic format, but they were down a few lifters and frankly we hit just about all our lifts,” St. Cloud head coach Cory Aun said.  “We knew it would be a battle in the Traditional and we had a few things go against us.  We missed on three lifts we normally make and we lost a tie-breaker (lower body weight breaks tie).  If we hit any of the three lifts or win the tie-breaker we would have won the Traditional.  But Harmony could probably say the same thing about bad breaks, they were down one really good kid at 154, so give Coach Lippert and the Longhorns credit, they are the traditional regional champs and certainly deserved it.”


St. Cloud, the top seed for this week’s OBC Tournament, went to 11-7 on the year with a 2-1 week that included wins over Space Coast and Eastern (Lousiville, Ky) and a loss to Lake Wales.  Addisyn Todd knocked in three runs in the 9-4 win over Space Coast and freshman Addison Felblinger has two RBI in the Eastern win.  

Harmony, the second seed, also had a 2-1 week to even its record at 5-5 on the season.  Freshman Emerson Aslan slugged a two-run home run in the Longhorns in extra innings to lead the Longhorns to a 5-3 win over The First Academy.

Tristin Skoog was hitting .486 with a team-leading three home runs and 25 RBI for Poinciana, who has won five of their last seven heading into the OBC Tournament. After winning just one game last season, Tohopekaliga was 5-6 as Jessilyn Diaz was hitting .409 with a team-high 15 runs scored.


One regular season week of games remain before the start of district playoff games on April 17.  The top two teams in the county – Harmony and St. Cloud – are in Class 2A, District 9 with Tohopekaliga, Poinciana and Osceola.   Harmony, the Orange Belt Conference Champion, is 11-2 after defeating Sebastian River (35-0) and Windermere (7-0) last week. St. Cloud (9-3 on the season) lost to Wildwood and defeated Osceola by a 7-6 score last week.

This has been an outstanding year for Osceola schools, as five teams have posted winning records to date.


The regular season wrapped up for the three schools that sponsor the sport of lacrosse.  Last week, Tohopekaliga defeated St. Cloud and Colonial to insure that Rob Weilert’s squad finished the regular season with a winning record for its third consecutive year.  The Tigers, led by junior Nathan Liemsky (29 goals) and senior Ayden Lightner (28 goals) have earned the five seed for the 2A, District 7 tournament that starts today.  Tohopekaliga will travel to Olympia for a 6 p.m. quarterfinal game.  A win would put the Tigers in the semifinals on Tuesday against top-seeded Lake Nona.

Celebration, 6-7 on the season, is the third seed for the tournament.  The Storm finished its regular season with a 20-9 loss to Windermere Prep and a 18-1 win over St. Cloud.  Junior Derek Zelmanski (47 goals) and senior Davin Gonzales (31 goals) are the Storm’s leading scorers in the regular season.  Celebration hosts Freedom in a Monday quarterfinal, with the winner traveling to second-seeded Dr. Phillips on Tuesday.

As an independent, first-year program St. Cloud (2-15) finished its season with the Celebration loss.  A pair of sophomores in Jackson McCoy (15 goals) and Gavin Booth (11) were the scoring leaders for the Bulldogs.


Two weeks remain in the regular season, as local teams begin to jockey for positioning for playoff seeding.  Harmony has started to make its case for home field advantage in Class 7A, District 9 — which features county schools Celebration, Osceola, Tohopekaliga and Poinciana.   The Longhorns completed a regular season sweep of Osceola last Friday, with a 12-9 win.  That victory, along an 11-2 win in March and a 5-4 victory last week in the OBC Championship game, gave the Longhorns three wins this year over Osceola for the first time in school history.

Still, district seedings are determined by FHSAA power rankings and Harmony (now 8-8) found themselves behind Osceola (10-8) in the last rankings.


Celebration (8-4) will be the top seed in the 2A, District 7 tournament and receives a first round bye. They will host the winner the #4 Dr. Phillips and #5 Winter Haven game on Tuesday.  A pair of sophomores in Abigael Lochner (66 goals) and Ayla Moffitt (48 goals) have been the leading scorers for the Storm.

Tohopekaliga (7-3) is the number four seed in the 2A, District 8 tournament.  They will host #5 Melbourne on Monday at 6 p.m.  A win would put them on the road Wednesday night against top-seeded Vero Beach.  Junior Lauren Schira (29 goals) has been the top scorer for the Tigers this season.

St. Cloud, an independent, finished its inaugural season with a respectable 7-11 mark. Sophomore Morgan VanAuken had 29 goals for the Lady Bulldogs.


Celebration will be the top seed, but Tohopekaliga, St. Cloud and Poinciana may all challenge when the the Storm host this week’s Orange Belt Conference Tournament.  The Tigers, 11-6, are coming off a big week where they went 0-4 in a tournament against state powers Miami Southwestern, Bishop Moore, Lake Nona and Lake Brantley (combined record 47-17) but snapped back in final game of tournament to beat rival St. Cloud (2-1) and recorded three set sweeps over Harmony and Cypress Creek to extend their winning streak to three.

The Storm are 8-8 and are currently ranked 38th in the state.  The Storm went 3-2 in a tournament in Miami last weekend before recording a 1-2 week with losses to Lake Nona and Olympia and a win over Apopka.


With 7-0 sweeps over Harmony last week, the Celebration Boys’ and Girls’ Tennis teams have wrapped up their regular seasons.   The Storm boys upped their record to 13-3 overall and completed the Orange Belt Conference Round Robin with a perfect 7-0 mark to win the title; while the Storm girls’ team went 12-3 and were also a perfect 7-0 in OBC play.  Both will participate in the Class 4A, District 6 Championships on April 11-12 at George Jenkins High School.

The Gateway girls’ team, enjoying their best season in school history, will take a 13-2 record into the Class 3A, District 13 tournament at Lake Cane Tennis Center in Lake Buena Vista starting today. 


Monday, Apr. 10

Tohopekaliga at Olympia, 6 p.m. (Boys’ Lacrosse, District Playoff)

Freedom at Celebration, 6 p.m. (Boys’ Lacrosse, District Playoff)

Melbourne at Tohopekaliga, 6 p.m. (Girls’ Lacrosse, District Playoff)

Gateway at St. Cloud, 6 p.m. (Softball OBC Tournament)

Celebration at Harmony, 6 p.m. (Softball, OBC Tournament)

Liberty at Osceola, 6 p.m. (Softball, OBC Tournament)

Poinciana at Tohopekaliga, 6 p.m. (Softball, OBC Tournament)

Tohopekaliga at St. Cloud, 7 p.m. (Baseball)

Eau Gallie at Harmony, 7 p.m. (Baseball)

Celebration vs. Lakeland Region, 6 p.m. (Baseball , Neutral Site)

Gateway at Tohopekaliga, 7 p.m. (Boys VB, OBC Tournament)

Liberty at Poinciana, 7 p.m. (Boys VB, OBC Tournament)

St. Cloud at Harmony, 7 p.m. (Boys VB, OBC Tournament)

Gateway at Lake Buena Vista, 7 p.m. (Flag Football)

Lake Nona at Liberty, 6:30 p.m. (Flag Football)

Celebration at Davenport Ridge, 7 p.m. (Flag Football)

Tuesday, Apr. 11

Celebration vs. Fenwick (Illinois), 5 p.m. (Baseball, Neutral Site)

Gateway at Poinciana, 6 p.m. (Baseball)

Discovery at Liberty, 6 p.m. (Baseball)

OBC Boys Volleyball, 2nd Round Games, 7 p.m.

Harmony at Centennial, 5:15 p.m. (Flag Football)

Poinciana at Tohopekaliga, 5:30 p.m. (Flag Football)

Windermere at Osceola, 7 p.m. (Flag Football)

Wednesday, Apr. 12

2023 Orange Belt Conference Track Championships, 10 a.m., St. Cloud High

OBC Softball Tournament (2nd Round, Consolation games), 6 p.m. TBA

Liberty at Osceola, 6:30 p.m. (Baseball)

Liberty at Harmony, 5:45 p.m. (Flag Football)

Osceola at Celebration, 7 p.m. (Flag Football)

Thursday, Apr. 13

Harmony at Tohopekaliga, 7 p.m., Baseball

OBC Boys Vollebyall, 3rd Place Game, 5 p.m. at Celebration

OBC Boys Volleyball, Championship Game, 7 p.m. at Celebration

St. Cloud at Gateway, 6 p.m. (Flag Football)

Boone at Liberty, 6 p.m. (Flag Football)

Friday, Apr. 14

OBC Softball Tournament 3rd Place Game, 5:30 p.m., St. Cloud High

OBC Softball Tournament, Championship, 7 p.m., St. Cloud High

Osceola at Palm Harbor, 6 p.m. (Baseball)

Harmony at St. Cloud, 6:30 p.m. (Baseball)

Foundation Academy at Celebration, 4:30 p.m. (Baseball)

Gateway at Haines City, 7 p.m. (Baseball)

Saturday, April 15

Liberty at Rockledge, 2 p.m. (Baseball)

FHSAA State Boys Weightlifting Championship, Lakeland, Fla.