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Sports Roundup: Celebration High athletes making strong showing as fall sports wind down

Posted on Wednesday, November 20, 2019 at 4:46 pm

By CHRIS MAYER | Contributing Writer

Hudson Rucker, right, seen earlier in the season competing at the West Orange Invitational, was Celebration High’s second-leading runner at the state cross country meet.

A perfect storm of athletic achievements converged upon Celebration High School.

The Florida High School Athletic Association’s 2019 fall season continues to wind down this month, and Celebration recently reached the state finals across three fronts: Bryce Reelrepresented the Storm as an individual at the bowling state championships on Nov. 6 in Orlando; the boys varsity cross country team ran in the Class 4A state meet held Nov. 9 in Tallahassee; and Felipe CostaandJuan Martinezqualified for the Class 4A swimming and diving championships, which were scheduled for Friday, Nov. 15, in Stuart.

Furthermore, Storm lacrosse player Vivian Spencersigned with the Ivy League’s Cornell University on Nov. 13.

Boardwalk Bowl hosted the Florida High School Bowling State Championships where Reel was part of a three-way tie for 18th place during individual qualifying. Reel posted an 879 total over four games – highlighted by a 241 in Game 2 and a 233 in the opening round – as did Sebring’s Cameron Shingle and Port St. Lucie’s Ryan Goodrich.

The top 16 individuals advanced to the bracket tournament, as Eau Gallie’s Andrew Reed gained the final seed with an 884 series. Mainland High’s Kory Driver earned the top seed with a 970, while No. 3 seed John Wilkinson of Bayside High eventually went 5-0 in the bracket competition en route to winning the individual state title.

Celebration’s boys cross country team gained valuable experience during the Class 4A state finals at Apalachee Regional Park. The Storm roster clocked an average time of 17 minutes, 41.23 seconds and featured two sophomores – including lead runner Jared Falchook– three juniors and two freshmen.

Falchook placed 55th overall (out of 238 runners) with a time of 16:30.89. Celebration finished in 30th place (708 points) as a team and the remaining six competitors included Hudson Rucker(17:11.73), Sebastian Edwards(17:46.53), Michael Eiken(18:10.84), Justin Quispe(18:46.13),Evan Amaya(18:59.93) and Zachary Zelmanski(19:23.11).

Results of the Class 4A state swimming and diving championships at Sailfish Splash Waterpark and Aquatics Center were unavailable at press time. Costa qualified for the state finals in the 100-yard freestyle and 100 backstroke, while Martinez made the field of 24 for the boys’ one-meter diving event.

Costa not only placed third in the 100 freestyle (48.29) during the Class 4A-Region 3 competition on Nov. 9 at the YMCA Aquatic Center in Orlando, but he also had a fourth-place finish in the 100 backstroke (53.87). Martinez was eighth in the regional diving competition with a 312.40 total.

Celebration was ninth in the boys’ regional team standings with 117 points, while the Storm girls were 18th with 14 points.

Orange Belt Conference boys soccer tournament

Top-seeded Celebration High and No. 7 seed Poinciana were in the field for the season-opening Orange Belt Conference boys soccer tournament.

The Storm earned an 8-0 quarterfinal victory over No. 8 seed Liberty on Nov. 11, and two days later they played semifinal opponent Harmony to a 2-2 draw as Edward Galindoaccounted for one of the regulation goals. However, the fifth-seeded Longhorns advanced to the tournament championship match with a 4-3 decision on penalty kicks.

Celebration was scheduled to face No. 6 seed St. Cloud in the third-place game on Nov. 15, but results were unavailable at press time. Second-seeded Osceola also reached the tournament final after wins over Poinciana (8-0) and St. Cloud (5-3).

Poinciana was relegated to the seventh-place match (against Liberty or Gateway) following a 4-0 loss to No. 3 seed Tohopekaliga on Nov. 13.

Celebration’s upcoming schedule includes a Nov. 21 home match against Bartow High, while Poinciana hosts Fort Meade the same day and Kissimmee New Dimensions on Nov. 22.

Clermont East Ridge High update

Knights offensive lineman Daniel LeGroshas been selected to the West roster for the 21st annual Central Florida All-Star Football Game. The senior showcase is set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 12, at Lake Brantley High School.

Elsewhere, senior Jake Moretti(200-yard IM, 100 breaststroke) and sophomore Leigha O’Connor(50 freestyle, 100 butterfly) qualified for the FHSAA Class 4A swimming and diving championships at Sailfish Splash Waterpark and Aquatics Center in Stuart. The meet was scheduled for last Friday (Nov. 15), but results were unavailable at press time.

O’Connor recorded the sixth-fastest regional time in the 50 freestyle when she came in third place (23.98) at the Class 4A-Region 3 meet – just behind the winning time of 23.75 and the runner-up time 23.81. O’Connor also finished third in the 100 butterfly (56.98) at the regional event.

Moretti placed third at regionals in the 100 breaststroke (1:00.00) and fourth in the 200 IM (1:58.90).

In varsity soccer action, the East Ridge boys play at South Lake on Thursday, Nov. 21, and the girls host the Eagles the same night.