OHS, Gateway have at it
Local teams will play at District 6 tournament
By Rick Pedone
Water polo season is under way, with Osceola and Gateway remaining the only high schools in Osceola County to participate.
The teams compete in District 6 against Freedom and Lake Nona. Lake Nona is the defending boys and girls district champions.
Coach Debra Adams said she will have one of her least experienced teams in recent years this season with four returning seniors: Kendall Castillow, Meg Clancy, Rose Donaldson and Heather Hammock. Castillow and Clancy are co-captains, and Adams said all returning seniors are team leaders.
“We have some new blood that we are also pretty excited about, four of them are freshmen,” she said. “It will be a busy and interesting season.”
Other team members are Kearston Williams, Sharon Klingemann, Valeria Torres, Sarah Conners, Kelsey Estrella, Becky Donaldson, Ero Rodriguez, Fabiola Torres, Jayna Glover and Lydia Crose.
Hammock and Williams are the goalies.
The Lady Kowboys (8-5) won four of their first five matches and downed Gateway, 14-5, Tuesday to clinch the No. 2 seed behind Lake Nona at the district tournament.
Coach Trish Abell leads the Kowboys, who won three of their first seven matches.
Seniors Elvis Gonzales, Armando Marino and Gabriel Serrano are back, along with goalie Tyler Schultz.
The corners include Jankar Solano, Joseph Lu and Josh Mead. There are eight new players on the squad.
“Our boys work hard and are learning quickly,” Trish Abell said.
The boys (6-7) are the third seed at districts.
Coach Vonnie Kochensparger said her girls and boys teams both are working through growing pains.
She said the girls team, which started 1-5, returns only three players, all with just one year of experience.
Cara Grimme, Emma Byerly and Natalia Gonzalez are the captains this year.
“The girls are getting better every day, but this is definitely a rebuilding year for them,” Kochensparger said.
Gabriela Diaz-Ramos is the goalie, who replaces four-year veteran Johanna Weiss. Emily Silva and Grimme play center and hole, while Tynise Brandon, Gonzalez and Byerley are all playing the wing and flat.
Ashley Aponte, Paola Calderon, Lexi Coiner, Erin Crosbie, Breishka Neris and Jeanette Thayer are new to the team.
The boys team has a few more returning players, including captains Noah Hendricks, Chris Anderson and Nathan Colona. Also returning are Brandon Hernandez, Bradley Hernandez, Brian Ha, Brandon Joseph, Giancarlo Correa, Tuan Nguyen, Willy Weiss and Will Byerly will play the flat and wing.
Willy Weiss will play center. Noah Hendricks, Brandon Hernandez, Stephen Guitierrez and Alex Fuentes willplay the hole. Brad Johnson has joined the team at goal.
The boys beat Osceola, 21-4, Tuesday to clinch the No. 2 seed behind Lake Nona at the district tournament. The girls are the third seed.