Viera will honor athletes with first Hall of Fame Class



Viera High School has been fortunate to have a number of talented student-athletes walk through its halls during its first 12 years of existence.

And now, those athletes will have a chance to have their achievements recognized for all time.

From 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 16 in the school auditorium, members of the first Viera Hall of Fame class will be inducted and their plaques placed in the gym lobby.

“With all the state champions we’ve accrued over just a short time, we thought it was a good time to start recognizing them, to stay on top of it, and to continue to recognize the student-athletes and the coaches,” said Viera athletic director Chris Gallagher, who worked on the project with Assistant Principal-Facilities Tim Rooney and with help from Assistant Principal-10th grade dean Courtney Lundy, wrestling coach Jim Gentile and Steve Wilson of the “Friday Night Locker Room.”

Members of the first class include girls soccer standout Katie Stengel, diver Luke Zippi, wrestler Ty Cartmell, tennis player Sasha Belaya, the 2016 girls soccer team, the 2010 girls golf team and outstanding contributor Mike Acosta of Viera Pizza.

Stengel, who is playing for the Boston Breakers of the National Women’s Soccer League, has had a decorated career that includes being named the 2009 Gatorade Florida High School Girls Soccer Player of the Year. She also is the first professional athlete to come from Viera High.

“Being a part of Viera’s first Hall of Fame class is an honor and privilege,” Stengel wrote in an email. “I still look fondly back on my time at Viera High School and the opportunity it gave me going forward.

“The teachers, administrators and coaches all helped me reach the point I have now. I am honored to be part of such a prestigious group of individuals. It’s incredible to think about the people who make up this class and how much they’ve accomplished.

“I’m grateful to be able to say that I share some kind of connection with them. I am honored to have the chance to represent Viera amongst such great company.”

Zippi, Belaya and Cartmel were all the first Viera athletes to win state championships in their respective sports.

The 2010 girls golf team was the first of two Viera teams to win a state title.

Although the 2016 girls soccer team’s state championship was the second in program history, the team was named the 2016 Winter National Champion.

“This means a great deal to myself and the girls,” said Lundy, who coached both state championship teams.

“I could not be more proud of my girls for all of their accomplishments and to be recognized for their achievements is huge. Also, it is always fun to reminisce the glory days.”

Acosta began hosting the Eat My Crust 5K race in 2012 with the help of race director Brittany Streufert. Proceeds from the race have benefited the Viera athletic program. And in 2016, Acosta formed the Power of Pizza Charities to benefit other organizations.

“We started Viera Pizza back in 2004 and grew as the Viera Community grew,” Acosta wrote in an email. “Once we were able to build our Stadium (Parkway) location, we knew it was time to give back to the community that had made us so successful.

“So in 2012, we decided to put together the Eat My Crust 5K to help the athletic program that was in need of funds.”