Viera track and field team built for success


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Key members of this year’s Viera High track teams include Malek Folston, left, Laila Pantor-Wellington, Zenan Bouie, Kaitlyn Jensen, JP Caglione, Alex Cabrera, Vanessa Collard. Lance Reynolds and Sarah Smith.

Carl Kotala

There are a number of reasons why this could turn out to be a very good year for the Viera High boys and girls track and field teams.

The Hawks have a number of Class 3A state meet medal contenders, including a pair of shot putters in senior JP Caglione and junior Kaitlyn Jensen.

On top of that, the Viera boys team is deep and talented and should be contenders throughout the postseason.

“We’re balanced,” Viera coach Dave Costello said. “We have very good competitors in every event. They’re basically veterans. They’re seniors and juniors that have gone through the program. We expect them to be very competitive.”

Last year’s Viera team had five athletes who would place in the Class 4A state finals. This year, the Hawks are in 3A.

Caglione, who finished seventh in the state in the shot put last year, believes this could be his year to bring home the gold. So far this season, he has broken the school record in the discus with a throw of 159-1 and is closing in on the mark for the shot put (53-6).

“Finishing seventh in the state [last year] and losing at state in football have given me a lot of motivation to try to get a state title before I leave high school, because finishing second kind of sucks,” he said.

Jensen placed third in the state in the shot put as a sophomore and also has designs on winning a state title, especially after breaking her own school record with a throw of 38-8 last month. She and Caglione have been pushing each other for years.

“We’ve been throwing together since seventh or eighth grade,” Jensen said.

The Hawks also have a pair of top-notch pole vaulters in Nick Bandos — who took fourth at state last season — and Danice Loney, who has already broken the school record by clearing 10 feet.

Other top girls — coached by Arlene Ferguson — include Sara Smith (high jump, sprints), Tori Nixon (100, 400), Macey Norton (sprints, long jump), Laila Porter-Wellington (high jump, long jump), Miracle Simon (throws) and Vanessa Collard (hurdles).

In addition to Caglione and Bandos, Viera’s top boys include sprinters Alex Cabrera and Tre Nixon, hurdler Malek Folston, Jamyson Boyd in the high jump, Lance Reynolds in the 400 and Zennan Bouie in the throws.

The boys are also strong in the distance events where coach Ron Abel has been getting strong efforts from Ryan Miller, Sam Shaffer, Jack Gillespie, Alex Krestan, Josh Dean, Tristan Alexander, Chris Montevecchi and Mike Brunotte.

“Our distance group on the boys side is the best we’ve ever had at Viera as a group,” Costello said.