Hawks have high expectations

Woodland’s Hunter Watford runs in the 4-by-200 at the Naugatuck Valley League indoor track championships in New Haven in January. The Woodland boys came in second at the meet, while the girls won it last season. -FILE PHOTO

Woodland’s Hunter Watford runs in the 4-by-200 at the Naugatuck Valley League indoor track championships in New Haven in January. The Woodland boys came in second at the meet, while the girls won it last season. -FILE PHOTO


BEACON FALLS — The Woodland track program sets lofty goals.

It’s not just about performing well within the Naugatuck Valley League; the Hawks’ aspirations go higher. This year’s boys and girls indoor teams are no different.

“We see ourselves as a state-level program,” said Woodland track coach Jeff Lownds, now in his 11th year coaching the Hawks. “We’ve done well in the past and we want it to continue.”

Tim Shea is back for his ninth season as the boys coach, along with coaches Adam Schultz and Josh Woodin.

The Woodland girls team won the NVL title last season, while the boys finished second. Both return plenty of talent to challenge for another championship.
The girls will be led by senior captain Audra Blewitt, who scored in several events last season, including long jump, mid-distance and hurdles events. She will be joined by fellow seniors Alina Martinez (hurdles) and Becca Moscato, who won the NVL high jump event last season.

The junior class is deep, with All-NVL cross country runner Steph Kiley, defending NVL pole vault champ Megan Lynch and Jazmyn Menzies, who scored in the high jump and relays last season. Emma Poryanda (mid-distance and pole vault) and Clara Atallah (pole vault) also return.

In the sophomore class, Clara Drozdowski, Bianca Poehailos, Kailyn Accetura and Lisa Thrasher will all give the Hawks options in running events.
Lownds made it clear: Woodland is not resting on its previous success.

“This is a new year,” Lownds said. “We can’t base anything on last year. You always have to look forward.”

The Woodland boys team is led by All-New England long-jumper and senior Mike Lang, who looks to build on an impressive junior season. At the NVLs last season, Lang earned the Outstanding Field Performer and Outstanding Meet Performer awards with his long jump of 21 feet, 9 inches, and his 5-8 high jump. He also helped the 4-by-400-meter relay team win the final event to earn his third gold medal.

Another senior, Levi Fancher (shot put and sprinting), continues to be one of the league’s top throwers.

The junior class includes Pat Hale (distance and pole vault), Dean Conway, Jeff Moffat and Drew Chura (pole vault) and Zach Noreika (long distance).

“The effort is there,” Lownds said. “The league is very good, and we’re ready to do our best.”

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