Personal records fall at Viera Fall Classic cross-country race


Viera High senior Allison Gerrits finished third with a time of 20:32 - a new personal record -- at the Viera Fall Classic cross-country race on Saturday.


It was a good day for personal records (PRs) at the Viera Fall Classic cross-country race on Saturday.

Viera’s Allison Gerrits finished third overall in the girls race with her best time of 20:32 and eight Holy Trinity runners – led by top finishers Matthew Allen and Sophia Weiner – also had their career-best times.

“I think it was a good race,” Gerrits said. “I could have started off a little faster. But I finished well. I’m happy with it.”

A senior in her first year of running cross country, Gerrits has become a big surprise for the Hawks this season as the Viera girls try to work their way back to the state meet.

“I started off the season really slow,” she said. “I was a 24-minute runner. But I feel like I’ve improved pretty fast.”

With Viera’s top two runners – Isabella Babilonia and Alexa Baker – sitting out the meet after competing in a club race in Georgia last week, Gerrits led the Hawks to a first-place finish in the nine-team field.

Her sister, sophomore Brooke Gerrits, finished seventh in 21:05. Junior Danielle Contreras was eighth in 21:13 and sophomore Isabella Narvaez was 10th in 21:31.

Senior Brenda Lee came in 18th in 22:10 and sophomore Isabella Schiffer was 20th in 22:42. Other finishers for Viera included sophomore Chelsea Paglia (22:42); senior Julia Svartstrom (22:47); junior Jasmine Camacho (22:59); sophomore Rebecca Devoid (23:04.20); senior Elena Fentress (23:04.90); freshman Liliana Box (26:56); senior Pharren Aehle (27:37) and sophomore Alyssa Blood (29:24).

Viera coach Scott Baker, who said Saturday’s meet was “all about the girls” was pleased with the way Allison Gerrits performed.

“She’s run in the 20:30s the last two weeks,” Baker said. “Her current form is really strong.”

The Hawks sat out all but one of their runners in the boys race in order to keep them fresh for the upcoming postseason events.

Junior Riley Birrup finished 15th in 18:16. Other Viera runners included sophomore Adam Deforest (20:42); junior Jack Gander (22:12); senior Jacob Gelman (22:57) and freshman Jason Lee (24:10).

While it was a good day for the Hawks, it was an encouraging one for the Holy Trinity Tigers, who have been making steady progress throughout the season.

Sophia Weiner, a freshman, knocked nearly a minute off her best time with a PR run of 21:04 that put her in sixth place.

“It was a good run,” Weiner said. “The weather was actually really nice. There was a little rain near the end, which was great for our finish.”

Senior Isabella Weiner, Sophia’s older sister, was next for the Tigers. She finished 15th in 22:00. Junior Julia McNatt was next in 16th place (22:06) to help Holy Trinity finish second overall behind Viera.

Other Holy Trinity finishers included junior Georgia Rydson (23:07); Janely Tavarez (24:15); senior Jaiden Martin (24:25) and eighth-grader Katherine Schwinn (24:29).

In the boys race, Allen led a young Tigers team to a fourth-place finish with a personal-best time of 18:01.

“I think I had a really good race today,” said Allen, who finished 10th.

“I was a lot stronger today than I have been in the past. … I’m extremely happy with my time and I’m ready to keep working.”

Eighth grader Skyler Jensen was the next-highest finisher for the Tigers, coming in 21st in 18:28.

Also competing for Holy Trinity were eighth grader Zackery Gunderson (19:07); sophomore Cassidy Werder (20:02); eighth grader Donovan Boesch (20:25); Finley Werder (20:33); eighth grader Aiden Silika (22:35); sophomore Austin Olivas (25:03); seventh grader Casey Nguyen (26:33) and Sebastian DeLaPorte (34:03).

The boys race was won by Melbourne sophomore Jaiden Martingano (17:09) while the girls winner was Titusville junior Paige Jaszczak in 19:09.

Holy Trinity coach Marc Bailey was happy with the way his team competed.

“Overall, for the day, I’m pleased with them because we had a number of PRs on the girls and boys side,” he said. “And all the kids were working hard, even our new kids. We had a couple of kids … it was their first race today. Overall, I’m pleased.”