The more miles the better for Viera cross country teams


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This year's Viera cross country team features some of the fastest female runners in program history.

VIERA VOICE Courtesy of the Viera High Cross Country team

The Viera High School boys and girls cross country teams have been putting in more miles this season … and it’s already paying off.

Led by sophomore Isabella Babilonia — who recently broke the school record — the Viera girls are ranked No. 1 in their region in Class 3A, while the boys team might be better than last year despite graduating three of its top five runners.

“We’ve got more depth now than we had, mostly because they’ve been running more mileage,” Hawks coach Scott Baker said of his boys team.

“Both teams have been running more mileage. That’s probably the No. 1 difference between the two years is the mileage. We’re running a lot more than we did last year.”

Junior Coby Karl already has shaved a minute off his best time from last year, running 17 minutes, 34 seconds, and is hoping to go even lower.

“I’m trying to break 17 this year,” he said. “I know that’s a big hop, but I’m down to improve a lot.”

Viera’s top three runners have been virtually interchangeable during the early part of the season with Karl, junior Bryan Baker and senior Shawn Coleman all finishing in various orders. Senior Andy Martinez, last year’s top runner, just recently returned from injury.

Add in senior Ethan Dabbs and juniors Navarre Solomon and Tyler Meilke and it’s easy to see why the Hawks are expecting to get back to the state meet this season.

That’s the same goal for the Viera girls team.

Babilonia, who set the school record with 19:30 (the previous record was 19:37), is only getting better and thanked Baker for helping her run times she didn’t think she’d be able to achieve.

“I was so shocked because I would have thought for sure there was someone who ran a time faster than mine,” she said of setting a new school mark.

“I’m just so stoked to see that I did that. I broke the school record as a sophomore. That’s kind of insane.”

Moriah Ross (19:58) is the fastest junior in the school’s history.

Sophomores Abigail Baker, Brooke Siviter, Elena Fentress and Alayna Thurner, along with freshman Danielle Contreras, are all part of a young core of runners that should make the Hawks contenders for years to come.

The Hawks, who are ranked eighth in the state in Class 3A after ranking No. 19 last season, are the favorites to repeat as district champs before moving on to challenge the state’s best.

“It’s a young team, but it’s a pretty experienced team,” Baker said. “Four or five of them ran at the state meet last year.”