Lake Nona (23-2), winner of the past two girls water polo state championships, finds itself in the underdog role for its Region 2 final game against West Orange (24-1). The Warriors are No. 1 in the FHSAA power rankings and will host the showdown on Wednesday at 4 p.m. at the National Training Center in Clermont.
Lake Nona, ranked No. 3 behind West Orange and Miami Gulliver Prep (21-1), lost 4-3 in overtime against the Warriors in their regular season matchup. Lake Nona’s other loss was to Boca Raton, which it avenged with an 11-8 victory earlier in the week.
West Orange’s loss was against Gulliver, 8-7, in a weekend tournament.
No. 4 Sanford Seminole (22-6) hosts Lake Mary (21-7) on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. in the Region 1 final.
Seminole ninth-grader Halle Zimlich is listed as the girls water polo state scoring leader with 119 goals and 35 assists. Lake Nona senior Emily Scheerer, the 2022 state and area Player of the Year, ranks fourth with 107 goals and 42 assists.
Many, but not all teams, post their stats on MaxPreps.
Boys region finals on Tuesday have West Orange (20-4) at Boca Raton (21-3-1) at 5 p.m. and Seminole (21-7) at Winter Park (21-7) at 7.
Region champions advance to the FHSAA final four, which will be played Friday and Saturday of next week at Belen Jesuit Preparatory School in Miami.
Lake Nona’s boys and girls teams, both undefeated, lead area tennis teams into next week’s district tournament play. The Lions will host the 4A District 9 tournaments at the nearby USTA National Campus, Monday and Tuesday.
The Nona boys won a dramatic 4A state championship match against Miami Palmetto last year to become the first area team to win a boys tennis team title since Lake Mary in 1996.
Sentinel Sports Final
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Kissimmee Gateway (13-2), with two sets of identical twin juniors in its starting lineup, is the favorite in Class 3A District 13 at the Lake Cane Tennis Center, Monday-Wednesday. The twins are Anaila and Aurelia Cooks, daughters of coaches Keisha and Barner Cooks; and Zulaika and Karima Hanafi.
Cornerstone Charter’s girls went 15-0 in the regular season with one junior, two sophomores and two freshmen in its top five. The Ducks play in the 1A-6 tournament in Lakeland, Wednesday-Friday, alongside The First Academy and Windermere Prep, among others.
Other top area girls teams include Windermere (12-1) and Lake Mary (12-1), which lost only to Lake Nona in regular season play.
DeLand senior Mia Rhodes is the 2023 Florida Dairy Farmers Miss Weightlifting award winner and John Mosure of Winter Springs earned Coach of the Year.
Rhodes, a Team USA participant, was chosen as the top girls lifter in the state after setting records in the Class 3A 154-pound weight class. Her 240-pound clean-and-jerk set a state meet record. That lift combined with a 205 snatch effort gave Rhodes an Olympic style record total of 445 pounds. She also won the Traditional competition, which combines bench press with clean-and-jerk.
Mosure coached Winter Springs to the 3A championship, making the Bears the first Orlando area school to win an FHSAA girls weightlifting team title.
- The First Academy baseball team has won 30 of its past 32 games over two seasons. The Royals won 12 in a row before losing a region final to West Palm Beach Cardinal Newman last year and improved to 18-1 this season with Thursday’s 4-1 win against Master’s Academy.
- Montverde Academy (9-4) dealt Orangewood Christian (7-1), the area’s top-ranked girls beach volleyball team, its first loss on Wednesday, 3-2. That leaves no undefeated Orlando area team in the sport.
- In boys volleyball, undefeated Timber Creek (9-0) plays at Freedom (13-2) on Tuesday night at 7. Winter Park (13-3), the No. 1 area team according to FHSAA rankings, hosts Timber Creek on April 17. Lake Howell (15-1) has won 14 in a row since its loss to Winter Park.
- Horizon (12-0) and Winter Park (10-0) are the two area unbeatens in girls flag football. Apopka (10-3) also is undefeated vs. area teams. The Hawks, Wildcats and Blue Darters are all in Orange County’s Metro Conference but are in three different regions and do not play each other in the regular season.
- Playing as a club team, Miami Columbus (26-4), which repeated as Florida’s 7A boys basketball state title team last month, added a national tournament title to its resume over the weekend. The Explorers rallied to beat previously undefeated Central Cabarrus of North Carolina, 65-57, to win the 16-team State Champions Invitational in Atlanta.