Viera wrestlers fall to Rockledge, eye end of year tournaments


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Viera High's John Banks (in green) is moments away from scoring a pin in Tuesday night's dual meet against Rockledge. Banks won his match, but it was the Raiders who came away with the team victory.

VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala

The Viera High wrestling team certainly had its moments during Tuesday night’s dual meet against visiting Rockledge.

But in the end, the Raiders had too much depth and too much strength at the upper weights for the Hawks to hold them off as Rockledge came away with a 54-33 victory.

Braden Urso (132), John Banks (160) and Dalton Hongell (170) won their matches on the mat for Viera. Andrew Pinzon (120) and Gavin Letawa (126) won at their weights by forfeit.

“We’re not a good dual team,” Viera coach Jim Gentile said. “I think we’re a better tournament team, and an IBT (Individual Bracket Tournament) team, so I think we’ll do better in conference than the dual meets.

“But it’s good mat time for us.”

Urso, a freshman who is one of five first-year wrestlers on this year’s Viera team, won his match by first-round pin.

Hongell, a senior, won his match at 170 pounds with a 5-1 decision.

Banks, a senior who is in his second year of wrestling, had what was easily the match of the night. He fell behind early, rallied to tie it up at 7-7 going into the third period and then took a 9-7 lead before finally securing a pin.

Banks said he was telling himself “don’t lose” at the beginning of the match and even admitted that part of himself had a little doubt about being able to pull out the match. At the end, however, he simply told himself he had to win.

And as the match dragged on, he was finally able to get the upper hand.

“Banks is such a strong kid,” Gentile said. “He wrestled pretty good. He gutted it out.”

Gentile was also happy with the performances in defeat by seniors Jacob Light at 195 pounds and Nate Stover at 220.

The Hawks will travel to Titusville for a dual meet next Wednesday and have to remaining home duals – Jan. 29 against Melbourne and Feb. 5 against Satellite – before heading to the Cape Coast Conference tournament Feb. 8-9 at Bayside High.

The Class 2A, District 13 tournament is set for Feb. 22 at Merritt Island High.