At long last, the high school winter sports season is all over in these parts. We say that not as much in a good-riddance manner as we do ready for the weather to warm and the spring season to begin.
But before we ditch the hardwood and pools for the diamonds and links, we’d like to take one last look back at the highlights of the 2013-14 winter sports season at Naugatuck and Woodland. It was a season filled with great performances, awards and championships, and worth revisiting one more time.
Woodland girls indoor track three-peats: Over the last 16 months, the Hawks girls have been all but unstoppable on the Naugatuck Valley League’s running circuits. They proved it again at January’s NVL indoor track championships.
Woodland claimed its third straight league indoor track title and its fourth consecutive NVL running title — joining the 2013 indoor and outdoor track and cross country titles.
The Hawks ran away from the field by doubling up second-place Seymour. Woodland placed an astounding 11 athletes on the All-NVL team: Marisa Macek, Lisa Thrasher, Haleigh Resnick, Ashley Michie, Ava Capuano, Erin Machado, Val Vinca, Clara Drozdowski, Samantha Plasky, Jazmyn Menzies and Megan Lynch.
Michie also earned awards for being outstanding in sprints and being the outstanding senior, while Menzies earned the award for being outstanding in the field.
Naugatuck placed fifth at the same meet as Jasmine Grey stood out with a pair of second-place finishes.
Lang captures elusive State Open title: Woodland’s Mike Lang has enjoyed one of the best track and field careers of any athlete in school history, but a State Open championship was missing from his résumé entering this indoor track season.
It’s not missing anymore.
Lang earned the State Open long jump title with a leap of 21 feet, 7 inches, last month at the Floyd Little Athletic Center. It earned him a trip to the New England championships in Boston.
The State Open performance followed a Class M meet that saw him finish second in the event. Lang was a triple gold medalist at the NVL championships, winning the long jump, high jump and 55-meter hurdles. His efforts, along with Levi Fancher’s win in the NVL shot put and Drew Chura’s win in the NVL pole vault, helped the Hawks finish second in the league.
Naugatuck’s Dan Schumacher won the 1,600 meters at NVLs and qualified for the State Open in multiple events. Naugy finished sixth in the league.
Kingsley becomes all-time leading scorer: After 10 seasons of varsity boys basketball at Woodland, no player had reached the 1,000-point milestone for his career. That was until Tanner Kingsley cracked the barrier Jan. 7 when he scored 24 points against Holy Cross.
He didn’t stop there, as he became the school’s all-time leading scorer when he passed Heather Framski late in the season. Kingsley became the second player in program history to earn All-NVL honors after averaging 21 points per game.
Both Woodland and Naugatuck bowed out in first-round state tournament games after qualifying with matching 8-12 records. Naugy’s Ryne Griesenauer, the only senior for the Greyhounds, nabbed All-NVL Copper Division accolades.
Naugy, Woodland bid farewell to key seniors: The Greyhounds and Hawks sent out valuable seniors at the end of this winter season. Naugy will lose eight graduates, while Woodland will lose a pair.
Naugy’s seniors, led by All-NVL Copper Division selections Angelina Piccirillo and Emma Colucci, helped the ‘Hounds reach the Class L state tournament, where they fell to Wilton in the first round.
Woodland said goodbye to Andrea Piccolo and Erika Tyrrell. Piccolo finished her career as the fourth-leading scorer in program history despite her team missing the postseason. She headlined the season’s highlight game, when Woodland topped Naugatuck 35-32 in overtime.
The Greyhounds didn’t register a top-three finish in any event, but their depth and slew of personal-best swims in the finals helped spur them to beating six of the 10 teams.
Woodland, meanwhile, didn’t have the depth but saw Aidan Music and Andy O’Dell earn All-NVL honors thanks to top-three finishes in multiple events.
The Hawks placed eighth at the Class S championships Tuesday. Music was Woodland’s star of the meet, finishing third in the 100-yard breaststroke and fourth in the 200 IM.
The ‘Hounds were set to complete in the Class L finals Wednesday, after press time.