By:  J. Daniel Pearson for Positively Osceola

Two local athletes earned individual region track championships last week and they will lead a contingent of 17 Osceola County into the FHSAA State Track Championships this coming week at Hodges Stadium at North Florida University in Jacksonville.

Poinciana’s Jose Calderon won the Region 2 championship in the 400 meters last week to automatically qualify for this week’s Class 3A state championship next Friday, May 17.  He will be joined in the 3A meet by Gateway’s Dalton Gold and Aniyah Radcliff, who also qualified in their events.

Gold finished second in the pole vault; while Radcliff is the only Osceola County athlete to qualify for the state championships in multiple events as she finished second in both the long jump and the triple jump.  The top two finishers at each regional event earn automatic entry into states; while up to eight at-large spots are also available across all four regions.

The three qualified for states at the championships at Plant City.  The Gateway boys, who captured a district championship earlier, finished in seventh place in the regional meet with 35 points; while Radcliff led the Lady Panthers to 10th place finish with 32 points.

Harmony’s Ivaniel Ramos was the other regional champion, taking first place in the javelin in 4A, Region 3 Championships with a throw of 149’-10” in a meet held at Martin High School in Stuart.  Osceola, St. Cloud, and Tohopekaliga also participated in the meet.  As expected, state track power Vero Beach won both the boys and girls team titles at the event, with the St. Cloud girls team (9th Place – 29 points) and the Harmony boys team (11th Place – 24 points) being the highest team finishes among the county schools.

In addition to Ramos, eight other athletes and a relay team qualified from Osceola County qualified for the 4A State Championships that will be held on Saturday, May 18. Pole vaulters Mason Shafer (boys) and Kacey Sinagoga (girls) joined Ramos as state qualifiers from Harmony.

St. Cloud saw four qualify including high jumpers Abisai Ramos-Cotto (2nd place) and Jahleek Lawrence who grabbed an at-large bid with a third place finish.  Both cleared 6’-1 ½” with Ramos claiming second based on fewest misses.  Sofia Houser(9’-10”) took second in the girls’ pole vault to advance; while girls’ high jumper Hannah Kline captures and at-large spot in the field with a fourth place finish (4’-11 ¾”).

Osceola will be sending a relay team to the state championships; as well as two individuals. It’s  girls’ 4 x 400 relay team of Zanaya Bright, Aaliyah Strachen, Mia Gonzalez-Nunez, and Norelena Forde covered the distance in 4:07.34 to finish second in the event.  Strachen was 5th in the long jump; while freshman Korbyn Jones had an impressive 4th place finish in triple jump (36’-9 ½”); as both garnered at-large spots in the state championship field.  On the boys’ side, football and basketball standout Jalen Bell finished  third in the triple jump but (43′ 2.25″) but came up just short of securing the final at-large spot for the state meet.

Tohopekaliga’s lone representative at the state meet will be sophomore high jumper Sanaa Charles, who grabbed an automatic bid with a second place effort at 5’-1 ¾”.  As a side note, Sofia Delgado accounted for 13 of Tohopekaliga’s 21 team points by placing in three different events (discus, shot put and javelin), just missing distances needed for an at-large event in each.

Plant City was also the host site for 4A, Region 2 meet where representatives from Poinciana and Gateway competed.  Poinciana advances three to the state meet, as Levi Lee took second in the 1600 meter run (4:21.48) and Tyler Johnson was second in the triple jump (46’-7 ¼”).Hakeem Alvena earned an at-large bid in the 200, finishing third in 21.50 seconds.

The complete list of Osceola County State Track Qualifiers:

3A State Track Qualifiers

  • Jose Calderon, Poinciana, 400-Meter, Regional Champion
  • Dalton Gold, Gateway, Pole Vault (2nd place)
  • Aniyah Radcliff, Gateway, Long Jump and Triple Jump (2nd place)

4A State Track Qualifiers

  • Hannah Kline, St. Cloud, High Jump (at-large)
  • Jahleek Lawrence, St. Cloud, High Jump (at-large)
  • Abisai Ramos Cotto, St. Cloud, High Jump (2nd Place)
  • Sofia Houser, St. Cloud, Pole Vault (2nd place)
  • Mason Shafer, Harmony, Pole Vault (at-large)
  • Kacey Sinagoga, Harmony, Pole Vault (2nd Place)
  • Ivaniel Ramos, Harmony, Javelin, Regional Champion
  • Osceola (Zanaya Bright, Aaliyah Strachen, Mia Gonzalez-Nunez, Norelena Forde) , 4×800 (2nd Place)
  • Korbyn Jones, Osceola, Triple Jump (at-large)
  • Sanaa Charles, Tohopekaliga, High Jump, 2nd
  • Hakeem Alvena, Poinciana, 200 Meters (at-large)
  • Tyler Johnson, Poinciana,Triple Jump, 2nd Place
  • Levi Lee, Poinciana, 1600 Meters, 2nd Place
  • Aaliyah Strachen, Osceola, Long Jump (at-large)

Boys’ Volleyball

St. Cloud’s outstanding season came to an end last Saturday when they dropped a four-set decision to Tampa Bay HEAT (a team for home schooled students in the Tampa area) in the second round of the FHSAA State Championship.  The Bulldogs fell behind early, dropping the first two sets.  They came back in the third but could not sustain the momentum in the fourth – as the Heat prevailed 25-17, 25-17, 20-25, 25-16.  

It was a tremendous season for the Bulldogs, who finished with a 20-7 record; while taking both OBC and District Championships.  It should be noted that boys volleyball is a single classification sport in Florida, giving the Bulldogs a tie for 16th in the entire state.  The Dawgs were led by senior Will Stuphen (342 kills), junior Enrique Soto (211 kills), senior Grady McCoy (378 assists) and senior Nick Burzotta (233 digs).

Spring Football

Several schools wrap up their spring football practices this week with spring games and jamborees.  Tohopekaliga will open action by hosting a spring game vs. Hagerty at 7 p.m. Tuesday (May 14).  East Ridge travels to “The Ranch” to play Harmony at 7 p.m. Thursday; while St. Cloud will host a five-team jamboree on the same time, featuring Freedom, Viera, University and Celebration.  Friday’s (May 17) games include Liberty at Cypress Creek (7 p.m.) and Gateway in a jamboree at Colonial with Cocoa Beach also participating.

Poinciana and Osceola wrap-up their spring practices next Thursday (May 23) with the Eagles traveling to Horizon (6 p.m.) and Deland and Edgewater traveling to Osceola for a 6 p.m. jamboree.  Positively Osceola will have reports on all eight public teams next week.

OBC Honors Banquet on Wednesday

Heritage Park will be the site of the annual Orange Belt Conference Honors Banquet on Wednesday.  After a close year-long battle with St. Cloud, the Harmony Longhorns will receive the highly coveted All-Sports Trophy for a fourth consecutive year.  

Coach of the Year, Male and Female Athletes of the Year, and the Academic Awards for the team and school with the highest cumulative GPA will be announced.  Check on Thursday morning for all the award winners.