Osceola’s wrestling team has qualified for the FHSAA duals state tournament next week for the third year in a row – every year the state has held it since added it to the schedule in 2018.
It’s handy that OHS hosts the event every year.
If they have some exciting when the state Class 3A event starts Friday at 7 p.m., it will be hard to match the intrigue from the regional round of playoffs Thursday.
Trailing more than halfway through the regional final against Riverview – the same Rams that eliminated the Kowboys from the state quarterfinals last year – Osceola won the last five matches by pin to score max points take the dual, 47-32.
Nolin Eaddy (182 pounds), Joel Campbell (195), Dylan Ruiz (220), Cody Carter (285), and Cooper Haase (106) delivered when Coach Jim Bird needed.
“It was fun and exciting, watching them work like that,” Bird said.
Osceola’s success in middle weights has been its strength, but the Kowboys found themselves trailing 32-12 despite getting wins from reliable George Duncan (120), Jaekus Hines (138, still undefeated this year against Florida competition) and LaQuavion Pinellas (170).
In order to get to Riverview, the Kowboys defeated Tampa Newsome, 50-21. Haase, Kealonie Vegas (113, pin), Darlyn Abreu (120), Duncan (126), Joseph Fernandez (132), Abdel Gabr (138), Hines (145), Campbell (pin), Ruiz (pin) and Carter (pin) notched wins.
Osceola opens Friday’s quarterfinals against Palm Harbor. Saturday’s 3A semifinals will be at 2 p.m., following the Class A and 2A semifinals. All finals will be at 6 p.m.
The rest of the 3A bracket is the annual Who’s Who of large-school wrestling programs – Palm Beach Gardens, Wellington, Fleming Island, Hagerty, Cypress Bay and South Dade, the defending 3A duals champion.