Viera boys cruise to district title, girls team advances to regionals with third-place finish

Members of the Viera High boys cross country team pose with the Class 4A, District 5 championship trophy. The Hawks swept the first four places, led by senior Michael Toppi. Viera's girls finished third overall and will also advance to next week's regional meet.

The Viera High boys and girls cross country teams passed their first test on what they hope is a march toward the state championship meet.

The Viera boys swept the first four spots to easily win the Class 4A, District 5 championship at Osceola High School in Kissimmee.

Viera’s girls team finished third and qualified for next week’s regional, which is set for Saturday morning at Kissimmee’s Austin Tindall Park.

Michael Toppi won the district boys race with a time of 15:29. He was followed by teammates Robbie Naberhaus (15:59), Cameron Raney (16:04) and Aedan Rendek (16:18). Josh Ingalls placed 14th in 17:06.

Viera’s team total of 24 points easily outdistanced second-place Tohopekaliga High School, which scored 108.

Other top runners for the Hawks included Jack Girard (17:16); Riley Burrup (18:01); Benjamin Gearhart (18:37) and Matt Naberhaus (18:53).

In the girls race, it was Brooke Gerrits with a fifth-place finish in a time of 19:31. Isabella Narvaez was 11th in 20:06 and Chelsea Paglia was 16th in 20:46.

Danielle Contreras came in 25th for Viera in 21:42. She was followed by teammate Trinity Trett (22:05).

Freshman Maddie Helms set a new personal record with her time of 22:06.

“I’m extremely pleased at our performance today at districts,” Viera coach Samantha Gerrits wrote in an email.

“The boys ran as a pack for a majority of the race and it sent a strong statement for the future. They’re keeping the energy high and vibes positive as they inch closer to the state meet.

“The girls team did a wonderful job breaking up the other teams’ packs and solidifying their spot at regionals. Our freshman girl, Maddie Helms, set another personal best. She has set one every race this season with the exception of the JV race in Astronaut that she won. She’s definitely someone to watch in the future.”