Viera’s Toppi, Babilonia finish third at district boys, girls races

Holy Trinity girls finish third in Class 1A, District 4 race


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Viera High's Isabella Babilonia finished third at the Class 4A, District 5 meet on Saturday while Michael Toppi was also third in the boys race. The Viera boys were third and the girls fourth. Both teams will advance to next week's regional meet.

VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala

The overall results may not have been exactly what the Viera High boys and girls cross country teams were hoping for Saturday morning, but there was still plenty of good news to come out of the Class 4A, District 5 race.

Sophomore Michael Toppi and junior Isabella Babilonia both came in third in the 5K event held at Viera High. And with a third-place finish by the boys team, and fourth-place result for the girls, both teams will be advancing to next week’s regional meet.

“Today was about advancing to regionals, getting everybody healthy and (building) confidence,” Viera coach Scott Baker said. “That kind of stuff is important this time of year. Don’t do anything to stop the momentum.”

Though he said he would have go back and look at the over all numbers, Baker said his initial reaction was that he hoped the Hawks as a team would run faster on their home course.

Toppi clocked in at 16:32. He was followed by Cameron Raney – the top freshman finisher – who was 13th in 16:54. Senior Colby Karl was 17th in 17:04 and sophomore Robbie Naberhaus was 20th in 17:10.

“I didn’t do as well as I thought I did,” Toppi said. “I wanted to get a better time, but I’m happy with my time today.

“… I was shooting for a 16:15. I’m trying to get lower and lower to the school record. We did pretty good (as a team) today. We definitely could have done a little better, but we did our (best) and we’re going to regionals. That was the goal.”

Following the top four finishers for Viera were Joshua Ingalls (17:49) in 42nd place; Navarre Solomon in 48th (17:56) and Louis Schiffer in 54th (18:51). Bryan Baker came in at 19:01, Michael Shenbaum was timed at 19:10 and Aedan Rendek finished in 19:34.

Windermere High won the boys team championship while St. Cloud senior Zachary Cloud won the individual race with a course record time of 15:54.31.

“I think the top three or four boys ran pretty good,” Baker said. “They were pretty much where they’ve been. Obviously, you want them to move forward. I don’t think they ran bad. They just didn’t run great. We didn’t have a fifth runner (score well), which is crucial in this sport, to have five.”

Viera’s girls were coming off the first Cape Coast Conference championship win in school history, but with No. 2 runner freshman Isabella Narvaez injured, the Hawks knew finishing in the top two would be tough.

Timber Creek won the team event, followed by Winter Park and Dr. Phillips. Amber Schulz of Timber Creek won the meet in 18:13.

Babilonia, a two-time district champ working her way back from an injury that caused her to miss most of the season, finished in 19:23.

Julia Svartstrom came in 15th in 20:27. Danielle Contreras was 27th in 21:16 and Chelsea Paglia finished 37th in 21:36. Gabriela Shenbaum was next for Viera in 43rd place (21:55) with Elena Fentress 46th (22:02) and Brenda Lee 50th in 22:19.

Kaitlyn Thurner finished in 22:33 and Shannon Lee was timed at 22:51.

“It’s not what I wanted,” Babilonia said. “I wanted to PR at least. My PR is 19:08. My big goal is that I was hoping to break 18 (minutes), but not everything goes as planned.

“I was just trying to hold my place to help my team.”

The good news for Babilonia, who returned to action this month, is that she’s starting to feel like herself again when out on the course.

“I’m just starting to get back into it,” she said. “It feels like it’s been such a long season, but a short one as well. I’m just trying to catch up … I’m very happy I’m running again.”

The Hawks are hoping to get Narvaez back for the regionals, which are set for Nov. 2 at Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park in Boca Raton.

When healthy, the Hawks have shown they can be quite a handful. The girls have broken the team record for average multiple times this season and are now at 20:17, while the boys also have a school record 16:49 team average.

“Everything we want to accomplish is in front of us,” Baker said. “… Overall, it’s been a great season. I’m very happy with them.”

Holy Trinity girls third, boys ninth

Eighth-grader Ivy Knight led a quartet of runners that finished in the top 17 for the Tigers, who finished third at the Class 1A, District 4 meet held in Lakeland.

Knight finished 11th in 21:55. Eighth-grader Braelyn Wahy was 14th in 22:18 and was followed by senior Charlotte Varnes in 16th (22:40) and seventh grader Ava Knight in 17th place (22:49).

Another seventh grader, Natalie Morris, was the next-highest finisher for Holy Trinity. She finished 23rd in 23:08. Eighth-grader Sophia Weiner was 31st in 23:57.

On the boys side, sophomore Jack Riggs was the top finisher as the Tigers finished ninth in the team standings. Riggs finished 43rd in 21:54. Freshman Cassidy Werder was two spots behind in 22:08.

Other top finishers for the boys team included Zackery Gunderson (22:31); Will Bell (22:36); Matthew Allen (22:45) and Finley Werder (24:12).