Reigning champs

Hawks seek to track down another title

The Woodland girls outdoor track team enters the season as the reigning Naugatuck Valley League champions. The girls will be led this season by captains, from left, Audra Blewitt, Ashley Michie and Erika Tyrrell. –LUKE MARSHALL

The Woodland girls outdoor track team enters the season as the reigning Naugatuck Valley League champions. The girls will be led this season by captains, from left, Audra Blewitt, Ashley Michie and Erika Tyrrell. –LUKE MARSHALL

BEACON FALLS — Another track and field season is on the horizon, and that means more championships could be coming for the strong Woodland program.

The Hawks boys and girls both enter the outdoor campaign as the reigning Naugatuck Valley League champions. The girls have taken it a step further, holding the last four running titles awarded by the league dating to the 2013 NVL indoor meet.

Woodland’s girls, led again by head coach Jeff Lownds (144-34-1 in 12 seasons), are loaded for another championship run. The Hawks destroyed the field at the NVL indoor championships by earning double the points of any other team.

Eleven Woodland girls made the All-NVL team for winning gold medals at the indoor meet, and all 11 are back for the outdoor campaign.

They include Marisa Macek (hurdles and relays), Lisa Thrasher (mid-distance and relays), Haleigh Resnick (mid-distance and relays), Ashley Michie (sprints and relays), Ava Capuano (mid-distance and relays), Erin Machado (mid-distance and relays), Val Vinca (long-distance and relays), Clara Drozdowski (long-distance and relays), Samantha Plasky (sprints and relays), Jazmyn Menzies (jumps, mid-distance and relays) and Megan Lynch (pole vault and relays).

That list doesn’t include several other athletes who have enjoyed past success on the NVL stage, including Audra Blewitt (jumps, hurdles and relays), Becca Moscato (jumps), Mary Sardinskas (long distance), Alina Martinez (hurdles), Clara Atallah (pole vault) and Bianca Poehailos (long-distance).

Blewitt, Michie and Erika Tyrrell are the squad’s senior co-captains.

“We return several All-NVL athletes, and we hope to be among the top teams in the league and to do well in the NVL championships,” the ever-coy Lownds said. “We want to qualify as many as possible for the Class M meet, and will attend several invitationals to prepare us.”

The Woodland boys are also coming off an undefeated and championship-winning outdoor track season, but the Hawks settled with the runner-up trophy at the recent NVL indoor meet.

Levi Fancher (throws), Drew Chura (pole vault) and Mike Lang (jumps and hurdles) earned gold medals at the event and are all back for the outdoor campaign. This will be the final outdoor season for Lang, who has established himself as one of the most decorated athletes in school history.

“I’d like for him to leave his mark and have another successful season,” Woodland boys head coach Tim Shea said. “Cracking 23 feet in long jump is the big goal he really wants, and we want him to finish the decathlon in one of the top spots. We want to get him as prepared as possible for college.”

Lang and Fancher will join Jack Pinho (mid- and long-distance and pole vault), Shane Classey (pole vault) and James Giacomazzi (hurdles) as the team’s five senior captains.

The Woodland boys outdoor track team enters the season as the reigning Naugatuck Valley League champions. The team will look to seniors, front row from left, Chris Alarcon, Mike Lang, Jack Pinho, Dan Conti, Wesley Sniadecki, back row from left, Josh Cotto, Taylor Tucciarone, Alik Bures, Bob Paternoster, Shane Classey and Levi Fancher for leadership on the track. –LUKE MARSHALL

The Woodland boys outdoor track team enters the season as the reigning Naugatuck Valley League champions. The team will look to seniors, front row from left, Chris Alarcon, Mike Lang, Jack Pinho, Dan Conti, Wesley Sniadecki, back row from left, Josh Cotto, Taylor Tucciarone, Alik Bures, Bob Paternoster, Shane Classey and Levi Fancher for leadership on the track. –LUKE MARSHALL

Other key athletes include Taylor Tucciarone (sprints and jumps), Alik Bures (throws), Tom Bethin (mid-distance), Dean Conway (mid- and long-distance), Jason Rodrigues (sprints), Pat Hale (mid-distance and pole vault), Will Flormann (throws), Brian Guerrera (hurdles), Zach Noreika (mid- and long-distance), Jeff Moffat (mid-distance), Tyler Collodel (sprints and jumps), Jeff Giusto (long-distance), Jimmy Jensen (mid- and long-distance), Sean McAllen (sprints), James Yacavone (sprints) and Colton Cronin (mid-distance).

Shea, along with assistants Adam Schultz and Josh Woodin, thinks the team can be in the running for another NVL championship.

“We set that standard, and anything short of that to the kids is a disappointment,” Shea said. “Even though we were pleased with how we performed at indoor, there’s still a chip on their shoulder. Every week’s going to be a battle. We’ll move around Lang wherever we need him and hope some of the younger kids step up.”

The Hawks opened the season Wednesday with victories over Kaynor Tech and Bullard Havens Tech in a nonconference meet. The girls defeated Bullard Havens 136-14 and Kaynor 127-23. The boys topped Bullard Havens 134-16 and Kaynor 121-29. They will compete at the Bellringer Invitational on Saturday before hosting Seymour, Kennedy and Wilby on Tuesday.

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