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Seminoles starring for Okeechobee High School volleyball

Giselle Micco sets the ball during Okeechobee’s varsity match against South Fork on Sept. 7, 2022, at Okeechobee High School. (Photo Kevin Johnson)

OKEECHOBEE — It didn’t take long for Giselle Micco to make a good impression on the Okeechobee High School varsity volleyball team.

This season marks her first year on varsity and she’s already stepped into the main setter’s position and has served as a captain for some games.

“Giselle’s sportsmanship is one of her greatest attributes. She is always putting the team before herself and understanding how to help and support her teammates on and off the court,” said Okeechobee coach Jerry Veloz, whose team had a 10-4 record at the start of October.

As of mid-September [the most recent statistics], Micco, a senior, led the team in assists (186) and service aces (25) and was third in digs (58). She had two matches with more than 30 assists.

Okeechobee’s Tiyanni Anderson goes airborne for a kill against South Fork in a JV match Sept. 7, 2022, in Okeechobee. (Photo Kevin Johnson)

Micco is one of two Seminoles on varsity; Nena Youngblood is the other. Youngblood, a junior who plays right side and middle hitter, is in her second season on varsity.

Similar to Micco, Veloz said Youngblood brings a lot of positive aspects to the team.

The tribe is represented on the OHS varsity volleyball team by Giselle Micco, left, and Nena Youngblood. (Photo Kevin Johnson)

“Nena is an amazing athlete and student that encourages and understands her role in the program and the goals we are trying to accomplish as a team,” he said.

Youngblood hadn’t played a lot as of mid-September; a year ago she notched 11 kills.

Before attending OHS, Micco and Youngblood played for Pemayetv Emahakv Charter School’s volleyball team.

Veloz also praised the players’ parents for their support.

“Reina Micco and Brenda Youngblood are amazing individuals and parents that project true humbleness and kindness. They are a true positive asset to the OHS volleyball program and I cannot thank them enough for all they do,” he said.

Powerful JV team

The talent from the tribe doesn’t stop on the varsity level. Okeechobee’s JV team features three Seminoles: Tiyanni Anderson, Alyssa Madrigal and Yani Smith, all of whom have earned praise from JV coach Kalani Karratti.

From left, Seminoles on the Okeechobee High JV volleyball squad are Yani Smith, Alyssa Madrigal and Tiyanni Anderson. Kalani Karratti is the team’s coach. (Photo Kevin Johnson)

This season Okeechobee had enough players to form a split JV squad. The team improved to 9-0 thanks to a three-set win against South Fork on Sept. 7. Anderson, a sophomore outside hitter, came up with key points late in the match that fired up her teammates and the hometown crowd.

“She’s phenomenal. She’s small in stature, but she can get up with the big girls. Her air time is unbelievable,” Karratti said.

Madrigal, a freshman who plays right side and outside, has established herself as a reliable player early in her high school career.

“She is consistent. Her swing technique is on point. Her hitting percentage is really good, too,” Karratti said.

Smith, who plays right side and middle hitter, is a force at the net.

“She can block, she can hit outside, her serves are phenomenal. She can hit from either side of the net. She can block in the middle,” Karratti said.

The JV team reached October with a perfect 16-0 record, which bodes well not only for this season but also serves as a potential indicator for the varsity squad to remain strong in the coming years as the JV players move up.

Okeechobee JV players, including Tiyanni Anderson, third from right, celebrate their three-set win against South Fork on Sept. 7, 2022. (Photo Kevin Johnson)
Kevin Johnson
Kevin Johnson is senior editor. He has worked for The Seminole Tribune since 2014. He was previously an editor, photographer and reporter for newspapers in Southwest Florida and Connecticut. Contact Kevin at