Sports Editor

Osceola and Harmony defend district duals titles; Celebration joins them in tonight's regional wrestling round

Like last year, three Osceola County wrestling programs have moved on to tonight’s regional round of the duals state championships, in their second year being held.

Osceola (District 3A-5) and Harmony (2A-6) defended their district duals titles last week, and host Celebration earned the 3A-5 runner-up spot and will also wrestle tonight.

Harmony will host tonight’s regional, which will include the Longhorns going up against Belleview and Spring Hill Springstead facing New Smyrna Beach at 5:30. The two winners will meet around 7 for a spot in the state tournament, again being held at Osceola next weekend.

Harmony and Springstead, the 2A-5 champion, are favorites in their preliminary rounds tonight.

After rolling through the 3A-5 tournament Jan. 9 at Celebration, the Kowboys head to Strawberry Crest for their regional. Osceola will face George Jenkins and Celebration draws host Strawberry Crest, and those winners face off to get back to Kissimmee next weekend.

“All three teams are much improved from last year. It’s going to be tough but fun,” OHS Coach Jim Bird said. “It’s a big week for us. It was exciting and fun for our team to go 3-0 at districts.”

George Duncan, Zay Mitchell, Jaekus Hines, Josue Calderon, Malyke Hines, Chase Fuller, Nolin Eaddy and Dylan Ruiz each won all three of their matches as the Kowboys defeated Melbourne, 75-0, Gateway, 52-30, and Celebration, 54-24 in the title match.

Oscar Maldonado, Jacob McKenney and Adriel Martinez went 2-1 at districts.

To reach the championship match, Celebration defeated Lake Nona, 66-18, and St. Cloud, 45-33.

“We wrestled tough and with a lot of effort, but we are still giving up too many bonus points,” Storm Coach Tyler Smith said. “We are getting better each week, the kids are coachable and want to improve themselves every day.”

St. Cloud downed Gateway, 48-30, for third place.

HHS Melvin Ewen

Harmony's Melvin Ewen works for a reversal in his 2A-6 duals match against New Smryna Beach. He'd eventually pin his opponent en route to going 5-0 in the district tournament.

Harmony went to New Smyrna Beach on Saturday, and the Longhorns needed to survive five rounds to win their title.

They did easily, with victories over Seabreeze, 62-18, Poinciana, 72-10, Jones 72-12, and Deltona, 70-4, in their pool. They won the championship final, 67-12, over New Smyrna Beach.

Aiden Poe (21-2 on the year), Alvaro Morzan, Dylan Jones (27-1), Melvin Ewen, Sean Seery, Marshall Smith, Will Jacobson all went 5-0 Saturday, and Kade Toner, Josh Hall and Juan Gomez were 4-0.

“Poe looked tough and was not seriously challenged all day,” HHS Coach Vic Lorenzano said. “Toner wrestled tough for us and is one of freshmen that we are very excited about. Morzan was workmanlike and had a tough scrap in the final where he prevailed by one point.

“Jones was incredibly dominant and is just on a different level right now.  I would not want to take the mat with him. Ewen elevated his wrestling again and showed us he can reach the state tournament.  He had an incredibly exciting finals match. Josh Hall is starting to find his rhythm and we are excited for him. Seery was steady and solid all day. Smith had a couple of grind it out wins that will help him continue to improve. Jacobson is hitting his stride and looked tough all day.”

Both Harmony and Springstead feature state-ranked wrestlers up and down the lineup, Lorenzano said.

The winners of tonight’s second matches statewide will fill the eight-team bracket in the three classes for next weekend’s state tournament.