Sports Editor

St. Cloud continues OBC dominance

Osceola, St. Cloud and Liberty combined to send 38 weightlifters to the Class 2A Region 6 girls meet next Saturday at Vero Beach High School.

And, in what became a compelling District 11 meet Wednesday night at St. Cloud, the Kowboys nearly ended the Bulldogs’ impressive streak of titles.

Both had four district champions as St. Cloud just outpointed Osceola, 62-57, with Liberty (34), Celebration (22) and Harmony (20) also making strong showings for the county.

“We had a great meet, the girls did as they were expected to do,” OHS Coach Eric Pinellas said. “We’re looking forward to regionals.”

Osceola got 15 lifters through to regionals; all those in the top six of their weight classes qualified. St. Cloud, who had the goal of sending all 20 of its lifters, got 13 through. Liberty will send 10, including 119-pound winner Jasmine Elliote (120-pound bench press, 130-pound clean and jerk).

SC Zyanna Harris

St. Cloud's Zyanna Harris won the unlimited division at Wednesday's District 2A-11 meet and is one of the Bulldogs' 13 regional qualifiers.

“We had so many girls who missed it by one lift,” St. Cloud Coach Cory Aun said.

Among his district champions: Maria Sandoval (101 pounds, 120-125—245), Kaylin White (110, 140-150—290), Lianna Torres-Rosario (169, 160-155—315) and Zyanna Henry (unlimited, 165-155—320).

Osceola’s four winners were Jaeda Ray (129, 135-155—290), Alliann Johnson (139, 135-145—280), Isabella Pancake (154, 150-170—320) and Jaylah Harris (183, 160-165—325).

Harmony’s Madison Ewen (165-145—310) won at 199.

At the regional meet, the eight regional champions and the next 12 lifters by weight in each class will fill each of the 20-lifter fields at the Class 2A state meet at Panama City Beach Arnold High School on Feb. 8.

 OBC meet

St. Cloud’s girls weightlifting roster runs deep, and that’s why they win championships.

The Bulldogs, won five of the 10 weight classes at Thursday’s Orange Belt Conference meet. That was just one more than Osceola, but a handful of other second and third-place finishes pushed St. Cloud to 85 points, comfortably ahead of the Kowboys (60) for its eighth straight conference title.

Liberty (27), who almost ended St. Cloud’s streak of wins last year, was third with a new coached, followed by Harmony (24), Celebration (23) and Tohopekaliga (1).

An overly spent Corey Aun, who likely spent less time coaching his St. Cloud lifters Thursday than he did running the OBC meet, said there’d be room for the Bulldogs to have even more success at districts, which they’ve also won each of his seniors’ years in the program.

“We missed some lifts that the girls were disappointed to miss,” he said. “The goal is to get all of 20 of our lifters out of districts (into the regional meet), which is possible if we have the right kind of day.”

SC Kaylin White

St. Cloud's Kaylin White cleans 155 pounds — she'd hit 165 on her next lift — as Coach Cory Aun looks on at the Orange Belt Conference meet, where she won the 119-pound weight class.

The Bulldogs got OBC wins from Maria Sandoval (115-pound bench press, 120-pound clean and jerk, 235 total) at 101 pounds and Kaylin White (140-165—305) at 119, and Thursday was their first step in returning to the Class 2A state weightlifting meet at Panama City Arnold High on Feb. 8. White’s winning clean effort was a personal best that amped her, Aun and the crowd up after she flung the bar down after the good lift.

Among St. Cloud’s other OBC champs: Savannah O’Neill (145-120—265 at 169), Liana Torres-Rosario (155-165—320), who hit her final clean attempt to nose out teammate and 2018 state meet qualifier Kiana McCalmon by five pounds, and Meleana McEwan (175-135—310), who tied Celebration’s Victoria Kyles (170-140—310) but took the title based on a lower body weight.

Osceola got OBC championships from A’sha Shepard (100-105–205) at 110, defending district champion Jaeda Ray (135-155—290) at 129, Alliann Johnson (135-145—280) at 139 and a dominating performance from Isabella Pancake (145-160—305) at 154.

“Isabella is our best bet to make it to state, but Alliann and Jaeda both have a shot,” Kowboys Coach Eric Pinellas said. “OBCs went about how we expected, to we’re happy with second.”

Jayla Harris looks to rebound from a disappointing OBC meet and is should also be in the mix for a state meet spot.

my best bet to state is Isabella Pancake at 154, Alliann Johnson at 139 and Jaeda Ray at 129 both have a shot. She scratched out due to the pressure but my 183lb girl Jaylah Harris should have won OBC, she can also make it out of Regionals.

Harmony’s Madison Ewen, who also defended a district championship Wednesday, won 199 pounds (175-155—330).

Liberty’s Kelly Benson, a district champ at 119 pounds last year, was second at 129 (260) at OBCs.

“We’re just focused on making sure the girls are hitting their best lifts this time of year,” said first-year Chargers Coach Jean Leon, who is tasked with continuing a four-year reign of success started by former coach Rob Weilert, now the athletic director at Poinciana.

For Celebration, Maya Cusumano (101), Lani Huyke (119) and Kyles were runners-up at OBCs.

“Them, and Zaina Alshafei (169) and Nahiely Rodriguez (199) should do well at the regional meet,” Storm Coach Cliff Branch said.

Tohopekaliga’s Noelani Callender score the Tigers’ first-ever OBC weightlifting point at 101 pounds.

“We’ve got one senior and the rest freshmen, so we’ve been working hard for the future and having fun, and any success is exciting,” said Tigers Coach Thomas Ritter, who lifted for St. Cloud two decades ago.