Harmony grapplers end Kowboys streak at OBC championships

  • Harmony wrestlers and coaches celebrate the school's first OBC Wrestling Championship in school history, upending long-time champion Osceola in the process. NEWS-GAZETTE PHOTO/J. DANIEL PEARSON
    Harmony wrestlers and coaches celebrate the school's first OBC Wrestling Championship in school history, upending long-time champion Osceola in the process. NEWS-GAZETTE PHOTO/J. DANIEL PEARSON
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For as long as most fans can remember, the Orange Belt Conference (OBC) wrestling trophy sat on a shelf year-after-year at Osceola High School gathering dust.

It’s finally moving to a new home at Harmony High School.

The Longhorns sent 11 men to the finals and had seven individual champions in racking up 254 points to defeat Osceola for the 2020 OBC championship. It was Harmony’s first OBC Championship and team history.

“This is a great day for our team and our school,” Harmony Head Coach Vic Lorenzano said. “For years, Osceola has set the standard for wrestling excellence in our county and we certainly want to pattern our program after theirs. They have won so many big tournaments, have had so many state champions and have won districts and regionals so many times, I know they are an inspiration to our program. To come out on top is really special for our kids.”

Harmony champions included Aiden Poe (113), Dylan Jones (126), JT McNichols (132), Fletcher Small (145), Sean Serry (160), Will Jacobson (170) and Juan Gomez (195).

Poe (35-2) continued his fine season, picking up a pair of falls. and taking an 11-4 major decision over Celebration’s Kyle Peraza in the final. Jones went to 28-4 on the season by picking up three falls, including a first period pin over Osceola’s Mohammed Bakkali in the finals. McNichols picked up 23 team points for the Longhorns with three wins – including a 36 second pin over Celebration’s Chase McBroom in the finals to push his season record to 33-9. The closest match of the finals came at 160, where Harmony’s Sean Seery (34-8) used a second period escape to defeat St. Cloud’s Wilfred Martinez (33-4) by a narrow 1-0 decision.

Osceola finished second in the meet with 193.5 points and claimed six individual champions. Freshman Cooper Haase (34-4) won at 106; George Duncan was victorious at 126; Jaekus Hines (34-3) won at 138; Adriel Martinez won at 152; Nolin Eaddy (29-1) took the gold at 182 and Dylan Ruiz was victorious 220.

“Congratulations to Harmony, they earned it,” Osceola Head Coach Jim Bird said. “All our guys that we expected to win did, unfortunately we needed some other guys to step up and pull some upsets and that never materialized. About the only negative was I thought we could have been a little tougher and have been a little more competitive in some of the other weight classes. It’s something we will definitely need to work on as we get ready for districts and regionals.”

Harmony’s seven champions was one better than Osceola’s six; but the Longhorns also picked up four second place finishes and five third place finishes; compared to two second place and four, fourth-place finishes by the Kowboys which helped clinch the title for Harmony.

“Two things about our program that has helped us a lot this year,” Lorenzano said. “We haven’t ducked anyone. We wrestled in tournaments with Lake Gibson, Lake Highlands, Fleming Island and other state powers and that has helped us tremendously. Second, our depth has been a huge key for us. When you are getting 10, 11 or 12 wrestlers placing and scoring points for you in a tournament, it always helps.”

The only champion not from Harmony or Osceola, was Quaylen Hill from Poinciana, who defeated Gateway’s Kyjaun Allen in the finals of the 285-pound class by second period pinfall.

Final team totals were Harmony 254.0, Osceola 193.5, Celebration 110.5, St. Cloud 68.5, Poinciana 60, Gateway 53, Liberty 44 and Tohopekaliga 13. A junior varsity tournament was also held, with Harmony edging Osceola for team 177.5-130.0.