Improved depth gives Viera boys high hopes for this season


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The Viera High boys cross country team is deeper, and the Hawks are also getting healthier. That could lead to a big improvement this season.

VIERA VOICE Courtesy Viera boys cross country team

The Viera High boys cross country team found out a lot about itself in the very first meet of the season.

“The first meet was a lot of fun,” junior Koby Karl said. “Our top three guys finished side-by-side.

“Our team is a lot better. I’m really excited.”

In the first three races, Viera’s top three runners – Karl, junior Bryan Baker and senior Shawn Coleman – were virtually interchangeable in terms of their order of finish.

After running in the 18:30s last year, Karl has already turned in a time of 17:34.

Karl credited his improvement to “the running and mentally being there, pushing myself during the race and coach (Scott Baker) telling me to stay with the dude I was running with.”

He is hoping to get his time below 17 minutes by the end of this season.

To make the team even stronger, comes the return of last year’s No. 1 runner, Andy Martinez.

The senior, who has been out with an injury, has been slowly working his way back into the lineup and was Viera’s top finisher at the St. Cloud Invitational with a time of 17:46:10.

Other top runners for the Hawks this season include juniors Navarre Solomon, Tyler Mielke and Ethan Dabbs.

Despite losing three of his top five runners from last season, Baker believes the Hawks are better and deeper this season because of the team’s improved training methods, which include more running.

“It’s a better team because they’ve bought into the higher mileage and they’ve seen the benefits of it,” he said.

While the Hawks expect to get back to the Class 3A state meet, they know it won’t be easy. Not only is Belen Jesuit the defending state champion and No. 1 ranked team in the state, there are a number of other tough teams in the region as well.

“They’re the best team in 3A,” Baker said of Belen Jesuit. “ Everyone else is running for second. Last year, we were able to win that race within the race for second place in our region. This year, it’s kind of the same goal.

“But honestly, second through eighth are pretty much the same. It’s going to be that close.”