Qualifying for the Class 2A state wrestling meet was amazing.
Winning the Region 4 championship, well, that was just the “bow on top” for Viera High senior 285-pounder Jackson Hatfield.
And he wasn’t the only one.
Viera’s Andrew Pinzon won the 126-pound regional championship and ran his record to 27-0 while teammates Brandon Urso (138 pounds) and Nate Olson (132) also qualified for the state meet, which is set for March 5-6 at the Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee.
Pinzon and Hatfield are the first Viera High wrestlers to win a regional championship since Ty Cartmell won at 189 pounds in 2011 on his way to becoming the first – and only – Hawk to win a state wrestling title.
Cartmell also won the regional championship in 2010 along with Trevor Lally at 285 pounds.
Giovanni Allen (285) was a regional runner-up in 208 and Jeff Walker (160) placed second at the regionals in 2011.
Viera finished ninth in a 32-team field at this weekend’s Class 2A, Region 4 tournament, which was held at Archbishop McCarthy High School in Fort Lauderdale.
Qualifying four wrestlers for the state tournament is the best performance by the Viera program since 2011, when the Hawks sent six. The 2010 team had four wrestlers qualify.
“I’m so proud of these kids and the heart they have shown, as well as the persistence to not only survive, but thrive in this environment,” first-year Viera coach Erik Shea wrote in an email.
Urso, a junior, scored an 8-3 decision over Manuel Dominguez of Belen Jesuit in the third-place match at 138 pounds.
Olson, a sophomore, advanced to the semifinals at 132 pounds before finishing fourth.
Pinzon, meanwhile, dominated the 126-pound class, winning the title with a 19-3 technical fall over Okeechobee’s Charlie Armstrong.
“Andrew is an inspiration for a fourth-year wrestler,” Shea wrote. “He’s the first one in the room and the last to leave every day.
“He learns quickly and implements new moves and new styles at will and I’m looking forward to seeing him wrestle at states and in the coming years.”
After scoring a pin over Jayden Jackson of Fort Pierce Westwood in the semifinals, Hatfield squared off against Eau Gallie’s Timaule Hayes in the championship match. Hayes led 1-0 after the second round, but Hatfield rallied to win it 2-1.
“It’s amazing to qualify for states, but winning regionals is just a bow on top,” Hatfield said in a Twitter message. “But me and my team aren’t satisfied yet. I am still hungry.
“I have a great coach by my side that has changed my game so much. He has turned me into a different kind of beast on the mat. Winning regionals is all fun and happy, but the real work isn’t over yet. I am chasing for a ring.”