NEW HAVEN — A Naugatuck Valley League indoor track championship three-peat is impressive enough. But the way the Woodland girls achieved that feat Tuesday night was flat-out amazing.
The Hawks dominated the field at the Floyd Little Athletic Center, scoring an incredible 175 points and winning their third straight NVL title by more than 90 points.
“I never expected that,” Woodland girls coach Jeff Lownds said of his team’s winning margin. “I expected this to be between us and Seymour, but our girls were totally dedicated and really on. It has to be a total team effort to score 175 points, which might be a record.”
Woodland won nine of the 15 events, including all four relays, and placed 11 athletes on the All-NVL team. The entire back row of the All-NVL photo after the meet was black and gold, something that brought a smile to Lownds’ face.
“That was a nice picture,” Lownds said. “I really enjoyed watching that.”
The Hawks led from start to finish, taking the 4-by-200 and 4-by-800-meter relays to begin the meet. Marisa Macek, Lisa Thrasher, Haleigh Resnick and Ashley Michie edged Naugatuck’s foursome of Heyi Cheng, Jasmine Grey, Carla Soares and Jill Orts in the opening 4-by-200 relay with an exciting finish. Michie went from third to first on the last lap and earned the victory by just nine-hundredths of a second.
Michie was one of the stars for Woodland. She earned two more close victories in the 55-meter dash (beating Grey by six-hundredths of a second) and the 300 meters (winning by a half-second) en route to being named Outstanding in Hurdles/Sprints and Outstanding Senior.
“It was huge getting Ashley to come to indoor,” Lownds said. “She’s been our top scorer in outdoors the last two years, so having her compete with us indoors was huge. We thought Ashley gave us the best chance to compete against someone of (Seymour’s Katie Petroski’s) caliber, and I feel bad that Katie couldn’t compete (due to injury).”
Jazmyn Menzies also earned a pair of individual gold medals with relay gold. She took the long jump (15 feet, 10.75 inches) and high jump (5-0) before anchoring the 4-by-400 relay to the meet-ending victory.
“I had tough competition in the high jump, and I’m not that good in the long jump,” admitted Menzies, who earned the Outstanding in Field award. “Coach (Adam) Schultz is a really good coach.”
“Jazmyn has come a long way in the long jump,” Lownds said. “Only two weeks ago, she wasn’t going to even compete in the long jump.”
Megan Lynch won another pole vault title by leaping 8 feet, while Clara Atallah placed third in the same event. Other relay gold medalists for Woodland included Ava Capuano, Erin Machado, Val Vinca, Clara Drozdowski and Samantha Plasky. Lauren Lombardo took second in the high jump, Thrasher was second in the 600, Abby Rosato was third in the shot put, Drozdowski was third in the 3,200, Steph Kiley was third in the 1,600 and Alina Martinez was third in the 55 hurdles.
Lownds credited his team’s senior leadership, including captain Audra Blewitt, who earned points in several individual events.
“Our seniors carried us very well,” Lownds said. “My captain, Audra Blewitt, kept our girls very focused and she’s done that all year. You can ask for that, but when it actually happens that makes you feel really good.”
The Naugatuck girls finished fifth at the meet with 34.5 points.
Naugatuck’s top individual finisher was Grey, who was second in the 55 meters. She also helped the 4-by-200 team to a second-place finish. Naugy’s sprint medley relay team of Melissa Goja, Jendaya Bell, Soares and Courtney Morin also placed second.