A St. Cloud athlete claimed an individual state championship over the weekend, while the Gateway girls’ basketball team will go for the Class 5A team title as action in FHSAA winter sports has kicked into high gear.

Individually, big news came in a small package as Abigail Davis – competing in the 110-pound class – lifted a combined 310 pounds to win her division in FHSAA Girls State Weightlifting Championships in Lakeland.     Davis’ efforts edged teammate and silver medalist Kaitlyn Gallagher-Perez by 20 pounds in her weight class.  The duo also earned all-state honors in the Olympic competition (clean-and-jerk/snatch), as Perez took second and Davis finished fourth in that event.

Several other Osceola County athletes earned all-state honors by placing in the top six in their respective weight classes in both the traditional (bench press / clean and jerk) and the separate Olympic style event that featured the clean-and-jerk and snatch disciplines.

 St. Cloud’s Ashley Aun earned double all-state honors in the 100-pound weight class, placing third in the traditional and fifth in Olympic style.  Celebration’s Yomileany Lopez just missed double all-state honors at the 190-lb. weight class, as she made the podium with a sixth place finish in the Olympic style event but just missed all-state honors in the traditional with a seventh place showing. Also earning all-state honors in the Olympic style 3A meet was St. Cloud’s Layla Lara, with a 6th place finish in the 119-lb. weight class and Celebration’s Fabianna Millan, who took 5th in the 154-lb. Olympic event.

Although his Bulldogs placed fourth in the team competition and sixth in the Olympic standings, head coach Cory Aun was not entirely pleased with his team’s performance.  “It was not a great day for us,” Aun said.  “We simply did not hit the lifts that we have been hitting all year.  There were a few issues with the equipment used, but we have no excuses. We’re happy that we went 1-2 in the traditional at 110, but we felt we had at least two other chances to win a state championship and we just missed on the lifts that we have made most of the season.”

Osceola Wrestling
Gateway Girls
St. Coud Weightlifting
Osceola Wrestling

The big team news of the week came from Gateway High, where the Lady Panthers basketball team totally dismantled River Ridge in a Class 5A, Region 2 final by a 69-40 count to advance to the State Final Four.  (Read game report here:  https://www.positivelyosceola.com/gateway-panthers-head-to-final-four-after-dominating-river-ridge-in-girls-basketball-regional-title/ ). 

It was the first regional championship and first Final Four in Gateway school history.

The Panthers will face Daytona Beach Mainland on Thursday at 4 p.m.  Although the teams have not met this year, they have played four common opponents.  Mainland has gone 4-0 against those opponents, the Panthers 5-0 – including a pair of victories over Eau Gallie.  Positively Osceola will have the game report on Thursday night here: www.positivelyosceola.com.

In district wrestling action, both Harmony (Class 3A, District 9) and Osceola (Class 3A, District 5) hosted eight-team events and both came away with team championships.  In the District 5 event, the Kowboys tallied 263.5 points to easily get by George Jenkins (208) to win another district title.  Poinciana (134.5) was third and Celebration (82.0) was fifth.  

The top four finishers in each weight class advance to next week’s regional meets.  The Kowboys are sending 13 through to regionals including nine district champions in Talyn Fisk (113-pound weight class), Evan Martinez (120), Isfandier Sharipov (126), Anderson Heap (145), Cooper Haase (152), Deacon Delong (160), Gunner Holland (170), Bryan Gari (182) and Jomar Sanchez (195). Poinciana sends nine through, including the champion of the 106-pound weight class Landon Trigueros; while the Storm will send a contingent of four to regionals, including 132-pound champion Zachariah DeCesare.

Over at Longhorns gym, Harmony (238.5) and Tohopekaliga (191.5) gave the county a 1-2 team finish in the eight team meet.  Harmony will send 10 through to regionals, including district champions Tristan Horn (106), Landon Davis (113), Rey Ortiz (132), Shawn McCallister (138), Carson Estrada (145), Antonio Falotico (160) and Nelson Toro (285).  Toro remained undefeated on the season, running his record to 38-0. Tohopekaliga sends 10 wrestlers to regionals, including district champions Regie Cuesta (152), Luis Rosario (182) and Chris Luyanda (190).  

Gateway (136) and St. Cloud (96) finished in third and fifth place behind champion Lake Gibson (314) at the Class 2A, District 7 meet in Lakeland.  Led by second place finishes by Aiden Cooper (195) and Elijah Abreau (285), the Panthers are sending eight to next week’s regional meet; while the Bulldogs send four through including second place finishers John Fernandez (182) and Nathaniel Huron (132).

An ugly incident followed a heartbreaking loss, as Celebration soccer fell 2-1 in the Class 7A, Regional Final to Boca Raton. “One of their players kept making obscene gestures to one our players, who was exhausted and lying on the field in close proximity to their bench. After he did it a third time our player responded by going over to their bench and pushing the player who was making the gesture,” Assistant Coach/Storm Athletic Director Chad Boudreaux said.  “Unfortunately things escalated when players from their bench and students in the stands started joining in the melee and our players tried to respond.

“Coaches and administrators on both sides were finally able to restore order, but their fans were blocking the entrance to our bus.  Fortunately deputies from Palm Beach County got our busses moved to another entrance and we were able to leave without further incident.”

Boudreaux added that he was upset when a newspaper report the next day where several Boca coaches and administrators insinuated that the entire blame for the incident belonged on the Storm team.  “That sort of upset me because while it is true that we had one player make a mistake by responding inappropriately to an obscene and unsportsmanlike gesture, they were the team that ended up having a semifinal home game taken away for a lack of institutional control and they were the ones that had five players suspended for the next game.   We were not totally without blame but they certainly need to own up to their part of the incident too.”

Even with the loss, it was another outstanding season for the Storm, as they finished 14-3-1 with an Orange Belt Conference and District Championship to their credit, as well as another deep run into the state playoffs. Celebration allowed just 11 goals on the season in 18 games, as standout goal tender Christopher Hernandez recorded 11 shutouts on the season.  Senior Julio Dlima led the team with 10 goals, but the Storm had a balanced attack as 13 different players registered goals for the season.

In other action, Harmony — the only boys’ county team to advance past districts — saw its season come to end with an 86-49 road loss to state power Lake Worth (22-1) in the quarterfinal round of the Class 7A Region 2 Tournament.  Hedrens Bartheles and Anthony Coby led second-seeded Trojans with 16 points each as the Longhorns fell behind early and could never challenge.  

Still it was an outstanding season for Harmony.  Led by seniors Caden Scarborough, Miguel Tirado, Rafael Balines, and Teancum Paxman, Duke Leonardo’s Longhorn squad won the school’s first ever district championship and posted the 20-win season in school history – finishing at 22-6.