MANCHESTER — The Woodland boys cross country team landed in the top ten of the Class SS state meet for the second year in a row.
The Hawks finished sixth Oct. 31 at Wickham Park in Manchester after a solid fifth place showing last year.
“We have had a lot of success over the past two seasons,” Woodland head coach Jeff Lownds said. “We finished second in the NVL two years in a row and had a good showing in the Class SS state meet.”
Lownds attributed the success to senior leadership.
“Going 29-2 the last two seasons the seniors have shown their leadership abilities,” he said. “These seniors are the heart and soul of the team the last four years.”
Woodland has been led by senior captain Brian Sardinskas, who had to step up with the loss of senior captain Jeff Giusto to an injury this season. Seniors Jim Jensen, Colin Blewitt, Pat Vogel, Chris Pinevich and Anthony LaFrancois have all provided the leadership that resulted in another successful season.
Sardinskas qualified for the state open finishing the Class SS meet in 11th place in 17:41. He moved on to compete in the state open Friday at Wickham Park in Manchester where he finished 92nd in 17:47.
“Brian has the intangibles that a coach is fortunate to have,” Lownds said. “He’s a great leader, runs with a lot of will power and has a real good kick. We will have some big shoes to fill.”
Matt Luxeder finished 24th in 18:25. Paul Jones finished in 50th, followed by Greg Aldrich (60th) Matt Giaquinto (66th) Colin Kennelly (80th) and Pat Vogel (104th).
“It’s going to be tough replacing these seniors but we do have a strong core of younger runners who made their mark this season,” Lownds said.
Among the up and coming runners are freshman Kyle Crowell, who sat out the state meet due to injury, and freshman Greg Aldrich, who won the NVL junior varsity race.
The Woodland girls finished ninth in Class M after placing third in the NVL.
Senior captain Kelsey Mitchell led the way finishing 12th in 21:08. Senior Kailyn Accetura placed in the top 40 at 39th in 22:19, followed by senior captain Clara Drozdowski (43rd) senior Bianca Poehailos (70th), junior Meredith Dyckman (78th) and junior Sydney Patterson (91st).
The Hawks will be losing five seniors this season along with Kyla Porter.
“The girls did the best they could after winning back-to-back NVL titles,” Lownds said. “To finish third in the NVL this year and compiling a 39-2 record the past three years says a lot about the talent on this team. These seniors really stepped up.
“When you reach this level at the state meet the competition is just that tough. We will bring back a good core of younger runners who will be looking to make their mark.”