Viera girls win second state golf title; boys come in sixth


Members of the Viera High girls golf team pose with their championship trophy. Pictured (from l-r) are coach Greg Ford, Taylor Rajeski, Sophie Liu, Dayna Owens, Amber Rivera and Samantha Brimhall.

Viera Voice Carl Kotala

Earlier this fall, both Viera High golf coaches expressed confidence that their teams would be able to make it to the Class 3A state tournament.

In fact, boys coach Paul Bentley said at the time, “We’ve got to go to states, or it’s a failure.”

Well, the season was anything but a failure for both Hawks teams.

The Viera girls won their second state championship, leading from start to finish and erasing the disappointment of a year earlier when they finished second.

The boys, meanwhile, finished sixth in their third state tournament appearance and gained some valuable experience on the big stage.

“We knew we had the horses to do it,” Viera girls coach Greg Ford said. “We just had to set our goals and go after it. This group is amazing. The girls consistently just raise the bar for our program, and now they’ve raised it again by doing this.”

Junior Taylor Rajeski led the way for the Hawks, shooting 73 and 76 during the two days to total 149. She was followed by Sophie Liu (79-74—153), Dayna Owens (80-79—159), Samantha Brimhall (84-80—164) and Amber Rivera (99-98—197).

Rajeski, who finished fifth overall, said the Hawks didn’t fret about the past and simply went out on the second day, played their game, and eventually pulled away for a five-stroke win.

“I was very steady, and that’s what I was trying to do,” Rajeski said of her final round. “I took my bogies instead of trying to go for things. Maybe if I was going for the individual title, I would have tried for some more pins out there.”

Winning the title after finishing second the previous year was a bit of déjà vu for the Hawks, who did the same thing in 2009-10. The difference in that 2010 team, though, was that it was loaded with seniors.

This year’s state championship team didn’t have a single senior.

“That just means we’re going to be even stronger next year,” Rajeski said. “It’s pretty cool. It’s exciting.”

Viera’s boys, meanwhile, equaled their highest finish at the state tournament. Freshman Calvin Sierota created quite a buzz, shooting 3-under 69 in his final round for a two-day total of 141, which tied him for fifth overall. It was the lowest score by a freshman — in any class — at the state tournament since 2010.

Viera also got solid play from Nico Gagliardi (75-79—154), Tyler Greek (78-79—157), Ryan Rozic (77-81—158) and Kyle De Cenzo (84-83—167).

Like the girls, the Hawks will have a number of players coming back. Gagliardi is the only senior.

“They were decent last year, better this year … if we all keep practicing, we’re all going to get better,” Sierota said. 

See our earlier VieraSports blog entry here.