Here are the top news items, moments and results from the past week in West Orange and Southwest Orange County high school sports:
1. Windermere High swimmer Ryan Erisman has committed to swim at the University of California, Berkeley. The junior is coming off an impressive showing at the FHSAA Class 4A state championship meet, where he won both the 200-yard and 500-yard freestyle state championships and was part of the team that won the 200-yard freestyle relay state championship. He also finished in second place in the 400-yard freestyle relay.
2. As the winter sports season begins to ramp up, various early-season boys basketball tournaments around Central Florida have given us an idea of who the area’s top teams and players could be.
In Class 3A, Windermere Prep again looks to be a state-title contender with the addition of transfer guard Samuel Shoptaw and the return of district Player of the Year Brandon Bass Jr. and 7-footer Sinan Huan.
In 7A, Windermere and Olympia High look to be the teams to beat. For the Wolverines, the return of top two scorers Ta’Veon Jones — despite reportedly transferring to West Oaks Academy — and Chalier Torres, and the emergence of underclassmen such as junior forward Terrance Drain and sophomore guard Nathan Earl, once again make Windermere a factor.
As for Olympia, four of the seven-man rotation that led the Titans to a 26-3 record last season returns for 2023-24.
3. With the high school football season over and college football season reaching its climax, you may notice on social media a lot of the area’s highest-touted recruits making appearances on the sidelines at some of the top programs in the country.
MORE FROM ORANGE OBSERVER SPORTS
4. It’s been an even more impressive start than expected for the area’s top boys soccer teams. West Orange, Windermere, Olympia and Horizon high schools already have begun to separate themselves from the rest of the pack in the area by starting the season undefeated. The four have combined to have an 11-0 record and a goal difference of +42.
5. After losing to graduation and Louisiana State University its top goalscorer, Brielyn Knowles, and her 21 goals and eight assists from the 2022-23 season, Windermere Prep girls soccer looks to have found a new line-leading striker with just as much college-level potential.
Forward Alyssa Parsons, a transfer from Apopka, has continued to show in the early parts of her sophomore season why she’s one of the top players in the country — she received a call-up to a U.S. Under-15 Women’s Youth National Team camp in the spring. Parsons had a sensational freshman campaign that saw her score 35 goals and dish out 11 assists for the Blue Darters.
So far in her new home, Parsons has quickly gotten comfortable and is off to an emphatic start to the 2023-24 season. In the Lakers’ most recent match, a 10-0 drubbing of Trinity Catholic (the match ended at halftime because of the mercy rule), Parsons scored seven goals and assisted two more. Keep an eye out for Windermere Prep’s new deadly finisher this season.
Sam Albuquerque is the Orange Observer Sports Editor, please contact him with scores, statistics and story ideas at this email: [email protected] or on Twitter at @SamBAlbuquerque