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Harmony defends in OBC weightlifting

Posted on Friday, March 14, 2014 at 1:48 pm

News-Gazette Photo/Rick Pedone  Harmony’s Giovanni Blyden is a potential state qualifier at 154 pounds.

News-Gazette Photo/Rick Pedone
Harmony’s Giovanni Blyden is a potential state qualifier at 154 pounds.

Horns’ long lift reign

By Rick Pedone
Sports Editor
The Orange Belt Conference championship trophy has resided at Harmony High for six seasons, and the Horns are determined to keep it there in 2014.
Harmony’s chief rival, as it has been throughout the Horns’ reign, is St. Cloud.
Several teams have lifters capable of placing at the Class A and Class 2A state meets at the Kissimmee Civic Center in April.
Harmony
The Longhorns have won six OBC championships in a row, and Coach John Wallauer Jr. said they aren’t finished adding to that winning streak.
“I think we are the team to beat until we’re beat,” he said. It will be tougher than years past, but the kids know what our goal is and they want to achieve it.”
Among the Horns’ top lifters are Brandon Woodring (183), Colton Keene (199), Jacob Sammon (238), Alex Cruz (238) and Giovanni Blyden (154).
“Our team is solid and has a lot of potential,” Wallauer said. “I like my group. We’re just going to work on getting stronger each week.”
Keene recently set the school’s clean and jerk record (280) at 199 pounds. Keene lifted a total of 555 pounds to win first place against Gateway, a meet the Horns won, 76-12.
The Longhorns (78) have won a tri-match over Liberty (15) and Osceola (12).  Harmony’s winners in that match were Alex Forsythe (119), Austin Richmond (129), Shane Wooten (139), Blyden (154), Jacob Shearsby (169), Woodring (183), (Keene, 199),  Trey Schroeder (219),  Sammon (238) and Alex Cruz (heavyweight).
St. Cloud
Coach Cory Aun has some rebuilding to do after state champion Austin Ocasio (238) and Hans Schroeder (runner-up at 199) graduated.
But, Aun, the reigning Osceola County Coach of the Year, is confident that his team will be strong enough to challenge Harmony for the OBC title.
“We have some strong lifters in the lower classes,” he said.
Aun said Sheldon McInnis (129) and TJ Whitley (154) should be good enough to challenge for state titles this year.
Whitley is on track to break all the school records, Aun said, and McInnis has tied the clean and jerk record and broken the total lift record for his weight class.
Milan Anderson (119) has tied the school’s clean and jerk record that stood for nearly 30 years. Mike Fagan (139), Kaylin Alvarez (169) and heavyweight Patrick Bruce all are challengers for conference titles, Aun said.
“We have some strong lifters, but we lack depth,” Aun said.
“We could win five, maybe six classes at OBC, but we need some other guys to step up and get us some points in 183, 199, 219.”
Osceola
Coach Doug Nichols leads the Kowboys.
Among the team’s top lifters is 219-pound junior Riley Nicholson, who placed fifth at the 2A state meet last year.
Connor Waldron (119), Dominic Lee (183), Laderrien Wilson (219) and heavyweight Derek Rivers also will compete for the Kowboys.
Liberty
Coach Cory Johns takes over the Chargers weightlifting team.
He expects William Ivory (169), Jacob Rodriguez (169) and Anthony Williams (199) to be the team’s leading lifters.
“I have a bunch of young guys working who are going to be good in the upcoming years,” Johns said.
Poinciana
Coach Joel Campbell returns to lead the Eagles and he is happy with the turnout this year.
“We have a young team, but our numbers have tripled from the last two years,” he said.
Jomar Santos (219) and Jose Rodriguez (238) return,
Campbell said newcomers Emanuel Cruz (139), Gabe Sosa (183) and Winston Valero all should have good seasons.
Gateway
Coach Marlin Roberts returns as the team’s coach.
His lifters include Derrick Pereira (119), Sam Castin (119), Joseph Ramos (139), Diovanni Javier (139), Raymond McGinnis (154), Mallek Green (154), Derrick Escobar (169), Christian Velez (169), Hiram Camacho (183) and Juan Posado (183).
The team’s roster also includes Michael Knight (199), Jaiquan Owens (199),  Justin Borrero (219), Ervin Silva (219, Kevin Arcena (238), Chris Dipolo (238), Sioasi Fine (heavyweight) and Candelario Calderon (heavyweight).
Celebration
Coach Dennis Thomas takes over the Storm program. Among his lifters is 199-pounder Ben Graham.

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