When it comes to qualifying for this year’s Class 4A state meet, Viera High girls cross-country coach Samantha Gerrits left no doubt about what she thinks about her team’s chances.
“They’re definitely going to state,” she said.
Gerrits’ optimism comes from knowing she has some experienced returners and a pair of newcomers that should make the Hawks more than capable of getting out of the region.
“Last year was kind of a rebuilding year,” Gerrits said. “This year, we’ve got two freshmen girls that are super fast, so it leads us to have a really strong team. Right now, we’re kind of struggling on the team aspect, but we’ll work through it.”
Those two freshmen, Celine Coryell and Addison Elwell have been having a big impact on the Hawks all season, finishing at or near the top of the lineup in every race along with senior veterans Brooke Gerrits and Isabella Narvaez.
Sophomore Maddie Helms has also performed well along with seniors Chelsea Paglia and Trinity Trett and freshman Rachel Devoid.
Coryell, who was Viera’s top finisher at the Astronaut Invitational last month, said the transition from running in middle school to running in high school has gone well in large part to her coach and teammates.
“It’s been really good,” Coryell said. “We have a really supportive team and a really good coach. I’m really happy with where I’m at and the people I’m running with. They’re really helpful and they push me to be better.”
Gerrits described her young runner as someone who will always give her all on the course.
“She’s a fighter,” Gerrits said of Coryell. “She doesn’t give up. She’s a racer. I mean, I’ve road-raced her before, so I know she’s tough. She’s almost beaten me several times.
“She can dig pretty deep. The well for her is pretty deep and I can only imagine she’s going to PR several times before we get to state.”