Hawks bring experience, talent into NVLs

BEACON FALLS — For the Woodland girls indoor track and field team, the drive for a fifth straight NVL title starts with its seniors.

The Hawks return three individual NVL gold medal winners and a solid group of seniors this season. The Hawks will be relying on their experience at the NVL championship meet, which is scheduled to take place Monday at the Floyd Little Athletic Complex in New Haven.

“We are looking to our seniors, Lauren Lombardo, Kailyn Accetura, Clara Drozdowski, Kelsey Mitchell, Lisa Thrasher and Ava Capuano to make us successful in the NVL meet,” Woodland girls head coach Jeff Lownds said.

Woodland heads into the NVLs with a long list of athletes who have improved over the last three meets, including Erika Michie, Gianna Polletta, Syd Grillo, Christina Hart, Erin Machado, Samantha Plasky, Alli Cianciolo and Jordan Williams.

Beyond the NVLs, the Hawks also have multiple state qualifiers. Michie (300 meters and 55 meters), Thrasher (600 meters, 1000 meters and high jump), Drozdowski (300 meters, 55 meters,  and 1000 meters), Mitchell (3200 meters), Williams (55 hurdles), Capuano and Lombardo in the long jump. In addition, two relay teams have also qualified.

Lownds, who also assists Woodland boys indoor head coach Tim Shea, said the team had some impressive performances at the Haddam-Killingworth Invitational last weekend.

The boys sprint medley team of Jeff Giusto, Colton Cronin, Ben Nuss and Jeff Webster placed third at the Haddam Killingworth Invitational last Saturday and qualified for the states.

Lownds said strong performances have come recently from Tom Smith, Isaiah Miller, Matt Luxeder, Matt Giaquinto, Paul Jones, Ryan Soda, Keith Bodnar, Gregg Fagan, Craig Starkey, Sean Mardin, and Edit Krivca.

The boys also have multiple state qualifiers, including Smith (55 meters and high jump), Luxeder (600 meters), Miller (600 meters), Fagan (55 meters) and Giusto (1000 meters, 3200 meters and 1600 meters). Woodland also qualified with the 4×200 meter relay.

With their experience and talent, the Hawks have a chance to take advantage of a close field next week.

“This is always a challenging but, fun week,” Shea said. “Who wouldn’t want an opportunity to compete in their league’s championship? We are starting to round into form and we are looking to Monday night. The league is real tight this year and absolutely anything can and usually does happen.”