Harmony wins district duals, tough road lies ahead

Harmony’s Jonathan McNichols pins Winter Springs’ David Deal in the 126-pound class.  

The county now boasts two District Dual Champions for 2019-20 high school wrestling season.

The Harmony Longhorns turned in another impressive performance over the past weekend, sweeping through three opponents to win the Class 2A, District 5 Dual Meet Championships at Winter Springs High School. They join Osceola High, who won the Class 3A, District 5 Championship back on Jan. 8.

Harmony had little opposition in disposing their first two opponents in the meet. The Longhorns would easily defeat Edgewater in the opening round by a 72-6 score, before registering an 81-0 shutout of East River in the semifinals.  

The win would set up a highly-anticipated final against host Winter Springs.

Aiden Poe and Jonathan McNichols set the tone early for Harmony, staking the Longhorns to an 11-0 lead as Poe recorded a 16-0 technical fall win over Silas Mantero in the opening match at 120 and McNichols pinned David Deal in the first period at 126.

Harmony and Winter Springs would split a pair of decisions in the next two weight classes before the Bears would pick up victories by pin fall at both the 145 and 152-pound weight classes to build a 15-14 lead.

Sean Serry would continue his outstanding season by recording a fall at 160 for Harmony, but Winter Springs answered right back with a pin at 170 to maintain its one point lead at 21-20.

Marshall Smith (182) and Jaun Gonzalez (195) would post decisions for Harmony in the next two matches to give the Longhorns the lead at 26-21, but a forfeit win for 220 put the Bears back in front at 27-26.

Nelson Torro would then put Harmony ahead with a first period pin over Anthony Rivera at 285-pounds, and Tanner Hinman would clinch the championship for Harmony with a first period pin of Ryan Hill at 106. The Longhorns added a forfeit win at 113 for a 44-27 final.

“We performed really well in the district meet at Winter Springs,” Harmony Head Coach Victor Lorenzano noted.  “I still don’t think we are at our best.  We made some bone-headed errors in the finals and I think we are still shaking off some rust from the holidays.  We also had some kids dealing with some illness. But I still think we received excellent efforts from our core guys and hopefully they will all be hitting their stride as we head into the last portion of the season.”

The next step in the state dual meet tournament will not be an easy one for the Longhorns. Due to district bracketing, Harmony will face a good Kathleen High team in the next round, and if they survive, they will most likely meet defending 2A state champion Lake Gibson in the next round.

Harmony would have to beat both teams to advance to the Class 2A State Championship meet at Osceola High School.

“Obviously, if we get to Lake Gibson, it will be an extremely difficult match to get out of, but we certainly are not looking past Kathleen either. They have four or five really outstanding wrestlers and a stable of tough kids.  They certainly will be our focus,” Lorenzano noted.

In addition to Harmony, Gateway and Poinciana participated in the eight-team district event. Gateway lost to Winter Springs in the opening round, but defeated Jones and East River in the consolation wrestle backs to set up a third place match with Edgewater. The Panthers would tie the match 39-39, but were awarded third place on the virtue of fewer matches forfeited. Poinciana lost its first two matches, but defeated Jones to claim seventh place.