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Gateway boys, Harmony girls OBC swim champs

Posted on Friday, December 1, 2017 at 3:23 pm

Editor’s note: This story was first posted on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2014. Subscribe to the News-Gazette archives at :

By J. Daniel Pearson
For the News-Gazette
The Gateway boys and Harmony girls teams won the 2014 Orange Belt Conference swim titles Friday at the Makinson Aquatic Center.
Gateway won the boys championship for a second consecutive year over Harmony, 188-142.  St. Cloud was a distant third with 84 points.  The Longhorn girls team also won fairly easily over St. Cloud 179-131.  Osceola, the 2013 girl’s champion, was third at 87.
The Panthers won 10 of 12 individual events.
“Heading into the season, winning this meet was one of our main goals,” Gateway Coach Vonnie Kochensparger said.  “Obviously we were pleased with the result.  We pretty much won the events I thought we should have, but more importantly, I think our depth showed.  Our top swimmers won their events, but a lot of our other kids stepped up and took second- and third-place points and swam personal bests in doing it.”
Kochensparger pointed to her 200-medley relay team as a prime example of that depth. “Three of those four kids were seniors, but they were not considered our top swimmers,” she said. “They came through with a big win and I was really proud of their efforts.”
Individually, Gateway’s Josh Longfield (200 IM, 100 Back), Nick Moran (50 free, 100 fly), and Walker Brooks (100 free and 100 breast) each won two individual events and were part of the winning 200-free and 400-free relay teams.
Longfield had one of the most dominating performances in the meet, winning the 100 backstroke by more than 5 seconds in a time of 58.44.
Harmony drew praise from its head coach, Terry Brown, for its second-place finish.  “We have a really young team and they came through with a lot of personal best performances,” Brown said.
On the girl’s side, Harmony won seven of 12 events.
Emily Walker won two events (100 free, 100 breast) and was part of two winning relays (200 IM and 200 free) to lead the Longhorns.  Skylar Durost (100 back, 400 free relay, and 200 IM relay) and Lauren Githers (50 free, 200 free relay and 400 free relay) won three gold medals each.
“This was important meet for us and I was very proud with the way we performed,” Longhorn girls Coach TJ Walters said. “We’re a small 3A school and this meet really helps us get ready for districts.”
Walters added that he was especially proud of the performances of Walker in the 100 breast and Githens in the 50 free. “Those were two races that were really tossups,” Walters said. “Both Emily and Lauren came through with outstanding performances to pull out wins.”
Osceola’s Valeria Torres-Perez (200 free, 500 free) and St. Cloud’s Ava Piana (200 IM, 100 butterfly) each won two individual events in the meet.
St. Cloud’s Lexi Wexler (264.90) and Harmony’s Dillon Newsom (266.05) took the diving titles.
The district meets are next Thursday.
Harmony hosts the 3A-5 meet at the Makinson Aquatic Center. Celebration also will compete. Gateway is host to the 4A-2 meet at the Orlando International Aquatic Center. St. Cloud and Osceola also will compete.

2014 Orange Belt Conference Championships
Girls Team Results: 1.  Harmony 177, 2. St. Cloud 126, 3. Osceola 88, 4.  Gateway 66, 5.  Celebration 62, 6. Poinciana 12, 7. Liberty 4; Individual Champions–200 Yard Medley Relay:  Harmony (Skylar Durost, Emily Walker, Chloe Semmen, Kendall Bryant), 2:03:02; 200-Free:  Valeria Torres-Perez (O), 2:11.27; 200 Individual Medley: Ava Piana (SC) 2:26.71; 50-Free:  Lauren Githens (H) 27.55; 1-Meter Dive:  Lexi Wexler, SC (264.90); 100-Butterfly: Ava Piana (SC) 1:05.49; 100-Free:  Emily Walker (H) 59.75; 500-Free:  Valeria Torres-Perez (G) 5:58.26; 200-Free Relay:  Harmony (Lauren Githens, Savannah Steele, Kendall Bryant, Emily Walker), 1:48.73; 100-Backstroke:  Skylar Durost (H) 1:06.90; 100-Breaststroke: Emily Walker (H) 1:16.77; 400-Free Relay:  Harmony (Lauren Githens, Chloe Semmen, Kylie Joachim, Skylar Durost) 4:07:57

Boy’s Team Results:  1.  Gateway 188, 2. Harmony 142, 3. St. Cloud 84, 4.  Osceola 66, 5.  Celebration 39, 6. Liberty 12, 7. Poinciana 8; Individual Champions–200 Medley Relay:  Gateway (Brian Ha, Ian Lugo, Luis Nodarse, Nathan Colanna) 1:51.20; 200-Free: Nico Olarte(G) 1:54.19;  200-Individual Medley:  Josh Longfield (G) 2:03:09; 50-Free:  Nick Moran (G) 23.77; 1-Meter Dive:  Dillon Newsome (H) 266.05; 100-Butterfly:  Nick Moran (H) 57.51; 100-Free:  Walker Brooks (G) 48.79; 500-Free:  Andres Vega (SC):  5:08.93; 200-Free Relay: Gateway (Josh Longfield, Nico Olarte, Nick Moran, Walker Brooks), 1:32.80; 100-Backstroke: Josh Longfield (G) 58.44; 100 Breaststroke:  Walker Brooks (G) 1:04.70; 400-Free Relay:  Gateway (Josh Longfield, Nico Olarte, Nick Moran, Walker Brooks) 3:27.23.