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These kids never gave me a break

Posted on Wednesday, June 4, 2014 at 2:05 pm

 Pedone_RickRick Pedone
Sports Editor

The end of the 2013-14 school year is today and I have but one thing to say: Thank goodness.
Why am I still trying to catch up on the end-of-the-year stories and the All-County selections that normally I have wrapped up by now?
I’ll tell you why.
It’s because these kids wouldn’t give me a break.
Throughout the school year, beginning in September and mercifully ending in May, the high school athletes from Osceola County were phenomenal.
The fall sports teams kept advancing through their Florida High School Athletic Association playoff series until late November and December, well past halfway through the winter sports regular seasons.
Many of the county’s cross country runners reached the state meet in Tallahassee. A host of swimmers went to the state meet at Stuart.
And the football players from Osceola High kept plowing over people until December, before finally being nipped by a field goal at Niceville seven seconds short of the Class 7A state title game.
Meanwhile, the winter sports athletes decided that it was time to get seriously busy.
Harmony’s girls basketball team went all the way to the Class 7A state tournament at Lakeland.
The female weightlifters from several schools reached the state meet at the Kissimmee Civic Center. The competitive cheer teams made it to the state finals at the Silver Spurs Arena.
And the wrestlers weren’t happy until they got to the state tournament at Lakeland, with three of them (Osceola’s Fox Baldwin and Ben Cruz, and Harmony’s Sawyer Root) winning state championships.
Osceola’s Kowboys were No. 2 in the Class 3A wrestling standings.
If everything had ended right there, this would have been a very good year for Osceola County athletes.
If I only knew.
The spring sports athletes, as they say, took it up a notch.
Harmony’s flag football team played at the state tournament in Tallahassee for the first time.
At the same time, the Lady Longhorns softball team made what now seems to be its annual appearance at the Class 7A state tournament at Vero Beach.
Osceola’s baseball team made its first appearance at the Class 7A state tournament since 1991.
Meanwhile, the track athletes found the next gear and flooded the state meets with talent. Liberty’s 4×100 relay ran away with the Class 3A championship.
And a dozen boys weightlifters made noise at the Class 2A state meet at the Kissimmee Civic Center.
Am I missing anything? Only a lot.
An Osceola County team was represented in the post-season in almost every one of the 23 sports that are fielded locally.
Athletes playing golf, volleyball, soccer, boys basketball and tennis all reached regional or state tournaments.
Liberty’s female wrestlers won the state championship in a sport where the FHSAA does not hold a playoff series.
All of this success does not include the outstanding performances by athletes at the county’s private high schools.
The girls basketball team at Southland Christian won the Florida Christian Conference state championship.
The Heritage Christian baseball team brought home its third straight FCC title.
The City of Life Academy girls volleyball team almost reached the Class 2A state tournament.
These are only the highlights. Buried in the fine print are hundreds of performances by local student-athletes worthy of recognition.
Frankly, there isn’t enough time, manpower and newsprint available to chronicle all of their successes. To do that would blow out the power supplies on the servers at Facebook and Twitter.
What I can say to all of the student athletes, their coaches and athletic directors who orchestrated this amazing string of performances is congratulations. It was, truly, a remarkable year.
The Osceola School District’s Activities and Athletics Coordinator, Ryan Adams, deserves a special mention.
He somehow manages to corral a host of different populations with different goals and gets them aimed in the right direction. Adams organized and supervises the county’s middle school athletic conference to help young athletes develop under a coach’s supervision.
The results speak for themselves.
Adams lamented that Osceola County did not bring home a team state championship this year, which would be the seventh for Osceola County.
Be patient, it’s coming.
Meanwhile, everyone, enjoy the summer break.
I hope I catch up before it all starts again in August.