Viera tennis serving up cross training

The Hawks were off to a 5-0 start and feeling strong thanks to new coach Jill Mignogna’s cross-training workouts.


Viera Voice Carl Kotala

While the Viera High boys tennis team appears to be going through a bit of a youth movement, the girls program looks to be in great shape because of all the work the players are putting in off the court.

New coach Jill Mignogna has introduced cross training into the team’s practice sessions to not only help prevent injuries and build up the girl’s core fitness, but also introduce a healthy lifestyle regimen that they can use for the rest of their lives.

“I can tell from two months ago, how much they have improved,” Mignogna said. “They couldn’t even make it a lap around here, and now they’re doing four laps. They’re focusing more.”

Top player Tori Pinchera said she has noticed a definite change in the way she feels on the court.

“In years past, I’ve had so many injuries,” the senior No. 1 player and team captain said. “This year, (cross training) is definitely helping prevent that. I feel stronger, so I can get to where I need to and be stable.”

The Hawks were off to a 5-0 start thanks to the play of Pinchera and the rest of the roster, which includes junior Gabby Stanifer (No. 2), junior Ana Hall (No. 3), senior Nicole Rivera-Wynter (No. 4), junior Esha Jain (No. 5), sophomore Grace Dwight, senior Danielle Hammond and junior Jillian Mignogna. 

“This year, I’m really proud of how everybody has stepped up,” Pinchera said. “They really put in the time, and I can see them getting better. Their motivation with the fitness has been awesome. It’s not like they’re just coming out here because it’s something they do to socialize. 

“They want to come out here and get fit. We all motivate each other.”

Viera’s boys, meanwhile, were getting strong play from freshmen Nico Fuchs and Nick Granberry, who play No. 1 and 2 singles for the Hawks. Senior co-captain Darren Turner is No. 3 while senior co-captain John Houlihan was in a rotation for the No. 5 spot.

“They’re all really talented,” coach Ryan Bauman said of his young team. “We may not be a big contender this year, but definitely next year once they get a little bit older, a little more experienced, we’ll definitely have a solid team and a good chance at regionals and, hopefully, state.”

Turner, who believes the Hawks will contend in the district tournament this year, has developed an all-court game that has served him well.

“I try to focus more on pressure and honestly, going to the net itself is mental pressure enough on somebody to make them mess up, or just hit it sloppy, so you can just put it away after that,” he said. VV