By: J. Daniel Pearson for Positively Osceola
Winning the Orange Belt Conference All-Sports Award has become a huge source of pride for Harmony High School. Awarded annually to the Osceola school whose team accumulates the most points across all sports over the school year, the award has sat in the Longhorns’ trophy case for the last three years and 11 times since the school opened 19 years ago.
“It represents the fact that you are committed to having a total athletic program,” Harmony Athletics Director Dan Kerr says. “Our success in not only based on the fact that we have had a lot of dedicated, tremendous athletes at this school, but that we’ve also been fortunate in hiring and retaining a lot of talented coaches over the years.”
Upon completion of the boys and girls OBC wrestling tournament last weekend, all fall and winter sports are now in the books and Harmony finds itself once again sitting on the top of the standings with 95 points; followed closely by St. Cloud (90) and Celebration (82). Tohopekaliga (74) remained within striking distance.
The Longhorns (45 points) held a narrow one-point lead over both Celebration and St. Cloud (44) after completion of the fall sports, but were able to extend the lead with a strong winter season. Harmony took OBC team championships in competitive cheer and girls soccer, but it was its overall performance that kept them on top as they also took three second place finishes (boys and girls wrestling, girls weightlifting) and did not finish any lower that fourth in any of the eight counting sports.
“We had a really solid winter season with two championships and three second place showings. But we also understand we are going to need a similar effort in the spring to hold off the challengers –especially St. Cloud,” Kerr added. “They are having an excellent year and the thought of turning the trophy over to my good friend Smartie (St. Cloud athletics director Bryan Smart) really would bother me.”
Smart and St. Cloud would like nothing better than recapture the All-Sports Trophy for the first time since 2020. As expected, the Bulldogs won the OBC girls basketball tournament and also kept their decade-long domination of weightlifting alive this winner. St. Cloud also registered a huge surprise by winning the championship in boys’ basketball — upsetting top-seeded Harmony in the process. That continued a remarkable turnaround for St. Cloud and first-year coach Tommy Billiteri, who at 19-5 has secured St. Cloud first winning season in 20 years.
In addition to their three team championships, St. Cloud finished no lower than fourth in seven of the eight contested sports. “We were close to them after last winter but Harmony just had a huge spring and ran away with the title,” Smart said. “Like Dan (Kerr), we also believe a strong well-rounded sports program is important and we certainly would like to claim the All-Sports championship. I can’t help but think baseball and softball will be the deciding factors this year.”
While the Longhorns will be highly favored to win the girls’ flag football title this spring, the overall championship could come down to the second weekend of April when champions in track, softball, and baseball will all be decided in a two-day stretch.
One interesting caveat is the sport of bass fishing. Recognized by the OBC, the sport has been a counting sport in the past but needs to have five teams competing in order to count in 2023-24. Right now only four schools have confirmed participation in the OBC Tournament slated for Neptune Road Pond on April 13.
The OBC consists of the eight public schools in Osceola County, including Celebration, Gateway, Harmony, Liberty, Osceola, Poinciana, St. Cloud and Tohopekaliga. To be included in the All-Sports standings, each sport must be contested by at least five of the eight county schools. Each sport receives equal weight. Points are awarded on an 8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. Points are earned on the results of either an OBC Tournament or from round-robin results for team sports; and one-day OBC Tournaments for individual sports. Because of the nature of football, where county teams play in assigned districts and different classes – the sport is not included in the OBC All-Sports results.
(Through Winter Sports)
School Points Titles In 2023-24
- Harmony 95 4, Swim (B&G), Cheer, Soccer (Girls)
- St. Cloud 90 4, Golf (G), Basketball (G&B), Weightlifting (G)
- Celebration 82 3, X-Country (G), Golf (B), Soccer (B)
- Tohopekaliga 74 1, X-Country (B)
- Gateway 70 0
- Osceola 49 3, Volleyball (G), Wrestling (B&G)
- Poinciana 29 0
- Liberty 19 0