Toppi, Girard break school records on historic day for Viera cross-country teams

Members of the Viera High girls cross-country team pose after the New World Fall Spectacular race Saturday in Jacksonville. Five girls set new PRs for the Hawks, who finished eighth overall. Viera's boys won the meet as Michael Toppi and Jack Girard set new school records.

It was quite a record-setting day for the Viera High boys and girls cross-country teams at the New World Fall Spectacular in Jacksonville on Saturday.

Two school records were set along with 11 new personal records (PRs) as the Viera boys won their event by a single point and the Viera girls came in eighth.

Michael Toppi finished second in the individual race and set a new school cross-country record for a 5K with a time of 14:55, beating his old PR by 13 seconds.

“14:55 is pretty cool… let’s get back to work,” the senior wrote in an email.

Jack Girard had quite the day for Viera, too. His time of 16:29 not only set a new school record for a freshman, but according to Hawks coach Samantha Gerrits, Girard is now the fastest ninth grader in the state.

Junior Cameron Raney finished sixth individually with his personal-best time of 15:54.

Another junior, Aeden Rendek, was 10th in 16:08, which was a new PR. He was followed by senior Joshua Ingalls, whose time of 16:17 put him in 15th place.

Senior Riley Burrup came in at 17:46 and sophomores Matt Naberhaus (18:40) and Jason Lee (19:38) set new personal records.

The Hawks, who were without No. 2 runner Robbie Naberhaus on Saturday, edged out Creekside 58-59. It was a strong showing for Creekside, which could certainly give the No. 1 ranked Hawks a challenge at the Class 4A state meet, though it stands to reason Viera will be much better when at full strength.

Like Viera’s boys team, the girls set a number of PRs on Saturday.

Junior Brooke Gerrits led the way, finishing 10th overall in a personal best time of 19:13.

“The conditions were perfect today,” Brooke Gerrits said in an email. “I knew this course would be fast and that I would have great competition to run with.

“When you go into a race feeling positive, you run well. That’s what happened today for me and the rest of the girls.”

Junior Isabella Narvaez came home with a 13th-place finish and a new PR (19:28). Senior Danielle Contreras ran 21:08 and junior Trinity Trett finished in 21:47.

It was a new PR for junior Isabella Schiffer (22:04) while junior Gabriela Shenbaum turned in her best time of the season (22:33). Also setting new personal records were freshman Maddie Helms (23:24) and junior Alyssa Blood (24:42).

“It was a historic day for our Hawks,” coach Samantha Gerrits wrote in an email. “School records shattered, 11 personal bests. Beforehand, we talked about taking a chance on a day like today. I was thrilled to see so many of them responding and stepping up to the plate.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what they can accomplish in the remainder of the season.”

The Hawks will be off next weekend before heading to Tallahassee to take part in the pre-state tournament meet on Oct. 16.