Four from Osceola County ink athletic scholarships

Allison Palmi, front left, and Melina Spencer, right, celebrate signing national letter of intents with Osceola assistant coach Jennifer Aragno, second row left, and Head Coach Carrie Palmi, right.

Two volleyball players, a track standout and a cheerleader inked athletic grant-in-aids on Wednesday afternoon at Osceola High School.

Osceola’s volleyball team, which recently finished with a 25-2 season, saw outside hitter Allison Palmi sign with the University of The Incarnate Word (UIW), a private Division 1 institution in San Antonio, Texas, that plays in the Southland Conference. Middle Block Malina Spencer signed with Polk State College.

Both Palmi and Spencer played integral parts in the Lady Kowboys successful season. Palmi finished the year with a team high 425 kills. 261 digs, 45 aces and a .327 hitting percentage. Her 1,580 career kills is  a county record, as is her 475 kills during her junior season.  Spencer had 180 kills this season, 71 blocks and a .330 hitting percentage.  Her 326 career blocks is also a county record.  

“These girls worked so hard over the past couple of years, putting in a lot of time and effort to get better,” Osceola Head Coach Carrie Palmi said. “For them to be rewarded by obtaining a full athletic scholarship is just awesome. We’ve had more than 20 athletes earn athletic scholarships since I’ve been the coach and it is tremendously satisfying to see these young ladies earn a chance to play at the next level.”

Spencer said she selected Polk because of the culture the program offered.

“I really loved the program and the coach when I visited.  The chemistry between the team members just made it feel like something I wanted to be a part of.”

Palmi echoed those comments. She committed to UIW almost a year ago before making it official on Wednesday.

 “It’s a long way from Kissimmee, but when I visited it felt like home.  It has been a dream to play volleyball at the collegiate level and the dream is coming true.”

Signing a track and field to Jacksonville was sprint specialist Alliann Johnson. As a junior, Johnson placed fifth in the Class 4A state championships in the 100-meters (12.00) and was 8th in the 200 meters (24.63).

Johnson said that Jacksonville University offered everything she wanted in a school and that deciding on the Dolphins early took a lot of pressure off her upcoming senior season.

“I always knew I wanted to compete at the next level, and now that the ‘where’ has been answered, I can now fully concentrate on my last season,” Johnson said.  “Jacksonville just seemed like the perfect place for me.  I loved the bonds and connections the athletes seem to share up there.  It seems like everyone pulls for each other and wants to help each other get better.”

When asked what she might specialize in, Johnson noted that it did not matter.

“I will compete in the events that we want me to compete in.  Although I have a lot of experience in the 100, 200 and relays, I also like the 400.”

In addition, cheerleader Isabela Delima has signed an athletic scholarship to cheer at Belmont College in North Carolina.

“I know a lot of people don’t view it as a sport, but it requires a lot of athleticism, hard work and effort,” Delima said. “If you really watch it, you realize there’s a lot of athletic movement and it’s definitely a sport.”  

Other Osceola County athletes signing grant-in-aids on Wednesday included Celebration’s Vivian Spencer (Lacrosse, Cornell), and Harmony’s Jenna Butcofsky (women’s soccer, Florida Gulf Coast College) and Tyler Lavigne (men’s soccer, UCF).