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Tennis preview: Celebration, Harmony eye regional returns

Posted on Wednesday, March 7, 2018 at 4:00 pm

By Ken Jackson
Sports Editor
Three Osceola County tennis teams advanced to last year’s regional playoffs and district runners-up, and three players qualified for the state tournaments.
But, much of the county’s top talent graduated, so we’re still getting to know this year’s crop of top talent — as are their opponents.
Celebration and Osceola play in 4A District 5 with Polk County foes Lakeland, Georg Jenkins, Haines City and Ridge Community.
Gateway and St. Cloud are in district 4A-9 against Lake Nona, Oak Ridge, Cypress Creek and Freedom.
Poinciana, Harmony and Liberty compete in 3A-7 with Deltona, East River, Edgewater, New Smyrna Beach and Pine Ridge.

Celebration
Both Storm squads, now coached by Darren Holt, have been the standard in the county for several seasons, and while the top of the lineup might not feature the star power of past seasons, the rosters run deep.
The boys team will be led by Alex Moutran, Angel Partidas and Jamal Scaggs, and will also see contributions from Sagar Shah, Pedro De Oliveira, Zachary Moore, Edward London and Julian Landin.
The girls team features Maria Fregonezi, Bea Coelho, Manuela Vasconcelos, Daniela Torres, Sophia DeLeon, Pilar Vazquez, Alex Gonzalez, Julianne Moura, Stefany Vargas and Robcybel Labarca.
“We do have top three guys who are very solid players,” Holt said. I see them fairing well at district and team has a good chance to go to regional. Top two singles and a double team may stand chance of going to state. On the girls side, there are also possibilities, but it is not so clear cut, too early to make predictions there.”

St. Cloud
The Bulldog boys team, coached again by Jason Eno, features returning players Austin Logan, Blake Peele and T.J. Miller.
The rest of the lineup does not hurt for players, with Joshua Whiteacre, Nicholas Coamey, Yahir Rivera, Robert Nieves, Zachary Facey, Emanuel Diaz Berrios and Jonathan Naicken on the roster.
Jeff Bean takes over the girls program from Chad Ansbaugh, and led by sophomore Jeanne Gearity and senior Gwen Andrews the Lady Bulldogs will challenge Celebration for the county’s top spot.
“Fortunately I inherited a good group of girls,” Bean said. “We are returning our top 6 players plus some very talented freshmen that will be competing
for seeds.”
The girls won season-opening Orange Belt Conference matches over Osceola and Gateway, and will play Friday at Celebration.

Harmony
The Longhorns’ boys and girls teams were runners-up at the 3A-7 district tournament last year and advanced to the regionals.
Coach Ann Moss’ boys team features a lineup of returning players Chris Magnaye and Fabian Malave at No. 1 and 2, and Turner Smal, Santi Parra and Luis Sanchez behind them.
“I have three new players this year, Moss said. “My one and two players are returning, and are having a great year so far.”
Girls coach Jessica Pocaisk returns seniors Mary Jacobsen, Kalin Abernathy and Emma Torpey and sophomore Tanea Spruill. Jacqueline Ryals is a top newcomer, and plays doubles with Jacobsen. Spruill and Abernathy play No. 2 doubles.

Poinciana
Nicholas Devore and Coach Daniel Joyner take over the Eagles program that now has full rosters.
Senior Jamal Calmont, Poinciana’s lone boys player last year, returns and leads a team, for a change, that includes Daniel Colon, Gian Olivieri, and Vere Cruz.
“The boys are looking forward to having a full roster and being able to compete in every match throughout the season,” Devore said.
Seniors Angela Carrasquillo and Reina Cesar return for their final season with the Lady Eagles.
“They play with the a joy of having 6 additional teammates for the first time,” Joyner said. “The Girls are excited to be able to compete for the full 7 matches all season long.”

Osceola
In Kowboys’ Coach Reggie Beeks’ third season, he returns five players, including a player of the year candidate, Jacob Johnson.
“I’m expecting, Jeremy McCleery, Kevin Lewis, Justin Funes, and Gabriel Gonzalez to make some noise at district and beyond,” Beeks said. “The girls are returning four players from last year team who could make some noise at districts.”
That girls lineup includes Naomi Yap, Margaux Dospueblos, Isabelle St. Maria, Paulie Correa and Katelyn Schneider.
Yohandri Acosta (boys) and Gianna Renteria (girls) will also compete.