Motivated Allen leads promising group


Viera High seniors Gio Allen, left, and Lou Fox were regional qualifiers last season and are looking to close out their careers with a trip to the state tournament.



There are two ways to look at this year’s Viera High wrestling team.

With six freshmen and several sophomore first-year wrestlers, the Hawks have a chance to be a very dominant team in a couple of years if everyone sticks with the sport.

Then there’s senior Gio Allen.

Viera’s 285-pounder has been pretty dominant all season long … and he’s got something to prove after what happened to him last year.

Poised to qualify for the state tournament, Allen’s trip to the regional tournament took a devastating turn when a car fire on I-95 backed up traffic and he was disqualified when he couldn’t make it to the weigh-ins on time.

This year, Allen is off to a 16-0 start — all by first-round pins.

“I want to show how good I am,” he said.

Now a legitimate 285 pounds (he was 260 last year), Allen is ready to make another run at the state tournament, which takes place March 2 and 3 at the Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee.

“I’m really going to go all three periods, try to do my best,” he said. “Obviously, I want to make it to state. If I could place at state, that would be great. That would be my goal.”

Senior Lou Fox, who could wrestle at 120 or 126, qualified for regionals last year and has a goal of his own.

“Mainly just to have fun,” he said. “I just enjoy wrestling. It would be nice if I could get up there in regionals. That would be pretty sweet if I could place or qualify for state.”

Senior Andy Saraka is another returning regional qualifier at 195 pounds who is hoping to finish strong.

Among the other veterans, junior Samantha Perez (113 pounds) is one to watch.

As for the freshmen, they are led by Tommy Arevalos, who is at 182 pounds, but could possibly drop to 170 by the postseason. His twin brother, Gavin, wrestles at 152.

Kristopher Garcilazo has been impressive at 195 along with Ryken Torgerson at 120, Dylan Berry at 132 and Andrew Pinzon at 106.

Viera coach James Gentile has been happy with the numbers and the enthusiasm of his new wrestlers.

Unlike last season, when the Hawks would be unable to fill six weight classes and had to start each dual meet already in a 36-0 hole, the Hawks have enough wrestlers to fill every weight class.

While Viera might not have a lot of experience in the room this season, there is definitely a lot of reason for optimism about just how good the Hawks can be.

“This is a growing year,” Gentile said. “Next year, we should improve dramatically if we keep everybody on the roster.”