Viera’s Hatfield wins district wrestling championship

Five Hawks qualify for next month’s regionals


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Viera High's Jackson Hatfield (right), shown here earlier in the season, won the Class 2A, District 13 wresting championship in the 285-pound class. Hatfield, a first-year wrestler, is one of five Hawks who will be moving onto the regionals.

VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala

Earlier this year, Viera High wrestling coach Jim Gentile said he thought his team built to have better success at individual postseason wrestling tournaments as opposed to the regular-season dual meets.

The proof came last Friday during the Class 2A, District 13 tournament at Merritt Island.

Although the Hawks did not finish in title contention as a team, they did manage to have five wrestlers qualify to move onto the Region 4 tournament March 1-2 at Jensen Beach High.

Sophomore Andrew Pinzon finished fourth at 120 pounds while senior John Banks was also fourth at 160.

Senior Jacob Light defeated Eau Gallie’s Jonathan Quintela by a 6-2 decision to finish third at 195 pounds. Senior Nathaniel Stover made it to the finals, but wound up finishing second at 220.

Then there was sophomore Jackson Hatfield, who won the 285-pound championship by defeating Merritt Island’s Keegan Ford 7-6 in a close, competitive contest that went back-and-forth throughout with both wrestlers scoring takedowns and escapes.

A sophomore who saw time on the defensive and offensive line for Viera’s football team this season, Hatfield is in his first year of wrestling for the Hawks and now has a record of 15-6.

In an email, Gentile not only praised the work of all his wrestlers, but compared Hatfield to another former Hawk who was a standout for Viera both on the football field and on the mat.

“As a team we have improved throughout the year which is directly related to the effort we have at practices,” Gentile wrote. “We have great team leadership which helps the newer wrestlers generate good work habits. We expected our seniors to qualify for regionals, but it was a pleasant surprise to see Jackson come away with a district championship.

“He is a great athlete, both strong and agile with great body control. He is very competitive. Wining at districts for a first-year wrestler is a great accomplishment.

“He may be the next Giovanni Allen.”

Should any of Viera’s five wrestlers get past the regionals, the state meet is set for March 8-9 at the Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee.