Woodland boys finish second at Class Ms, girls tie for 22nd
WALLINGFORD — A day that began with the Woodland boys’ highest-ever expectations for a state track championship ended with disappointment June 2 at Sheehan High after a series of injuries derailed the Hawks’ chances.
The points Woodland likely lost due to the injuries knocked it out of the running for its first Class M state title. The Hawks finished in a tie for third with 43 points, just 12 points behind champion Sheehan.
“I would have liked to see what would have happened with a full, healthy team,” Woodland boys coach Tim Shea said. “That’s a lot of points that weren’t on board, but that’s sports.”
The Woodland girls picked up five points to finish in a tie for 22nd. Tolland won the championship with 81 points.
Levi Fancher was the lone Woodland athlete to win gold as his shot put of 48 feet, 7 ½ inches topped Holy Cross’ Gerron Pendarvis by 8 ½ inches.
The throwers faced a logistical challenge in the layout of the meet, which staged the javelin and shot put areas several hundred yards — and a sprawling hill — away from each other.
“I was running like two miles between throws,” Fancher said with a hint of hyperbole. “It tired me out a little bit. I was late a couple of times back and forth between events, so I didn’t get any warm-up throws for shot put at all. It definitely had an effect on me.”
Fancher also placed second in the javelin with a heave of 173-8. He accounted for 18 of the Hawks’ 43 points.
“That’s something to be proud of and something that shouldn’t be taken lightly,” Shea said. “In eight years in a row, we’ve had at least one state champion, so that’s great. He had a tough day running up and down that hill, so that’s some focus and determination.”
Woodland looked to be a legitimate contender for the state championship entering the afternoon, but injuries and illnesses derailed the Hawks’ chances.
Jack Pinho, the top seed in the 1,600-meter run, rolled his ankle in the 4×800 relay. He staggered to a seventh-place showing in the mile and a finish outside the points in the 800, where he was seeded fourth. The 15 expected points from his seeds were reduced to just two.
Mike Lang, the favorite in two jumps, finished second in the long jump (21-3) and fifth in the 110 hurdles (16.43 seconds). He suffered an ankle injury during the meet and had to be scratched from the triple jump. Lang was expected to earn 20 points from winning the two jumps but only gained eight from the long jump.
Shane Classey, whose qualifying mark in the pole vault was among the top eight, missed the meet due to illness. The missing points ended the Hawks’ chances of a first state title.
Brandon Clifford gained three points by placing sixth in the triple jump, and James Giacomazzi gained a point by finishing eighth in the 300 hurdles. The 4×800 relay squad of Jimmy Jensen, Jeff Giusto, Dean Conway and Pinho was fifth, while the 4×100 relay team of Jason Rodrigues, Sean McAllen, Tyler Collodel and Taylor Tucciarone placed sixth.
The Woodland girls’ points came from Jazmyn Menzies (seventh in the long jump), Erika Tyrrell (seventh in the discus) and Megan Lynch (eighth in the pole vault).
Woodland’s state performances came five days after both the boys and girls defended their Naugatuck Valley League meet championships at Naugatuck.
Lang won the 110 hurdles, long jump and triple jump en route to being named the outstanding meet performer, outstanding jumper and top senior. Fancher won the javelin and shot put, and Pinho won the 800 and mile after anchoring the 4×800 relay squad to a victory.
Classey claimed second in the pole vault, Giacomazzi took third in the 300 hurdles and Chris McDonald was third in the javelin.
Menzies was Woodland’s only champion on the girls side as she won the long jump with a leap of 16-10 ½. The Hawks also came up with 11 other medals, including silver medals by Clara Drozdowski (3,200), Lynch (pole vault), Audra Blewitt (triple jump), Menzies (high jump) and the 4×800 relay team (Ava Capuano, Erin Machado, Bianca Poehailos, Drozdowski).