BEACON FALLS — The Woodland track and field program is hoping to carry the momentum forward into the outdoor season.
The girls team won its fifth straight NVL indoor title in February, while the boys team placed second overall.
Girls head coach Jeff Lownds, along with assistants Adam Shultz, Courtney Ambrose and Tony Cipriano, have a deep lineup with experience. Most notably, senior captains Lisa Thrasher, Ava Capuano and Lauren Lombardo return.
“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,” Lownds said.
Thrasher took first in the 600 meter run at the NVL indoor meet in 1:48.39, and she was also part of the 4×400 relay team’s top-place finish that won by nearly 10 seconds. Thrasher was joined by junior Gianna Polletta, senior Clara Drozdowski and sophomore Erika Michie in the 4×400.
Senior Kelsey Mitchell also grabbed key points for the Hawks at the indoor championships. Mitchell was third in the 1600 meters and fourth in the 3200 meters.
Fellow seniors Kailyn Accetura (mid-and long distance), Haleigh Resnick (sprints and relays), Alexis Casimiro (mid-distance), Jenna Zollo (javelin) and Jess Rodrigues (sprints, jumps and relays) will also contribute.
Junior Samantha Plasky placed second in the pole vault at the NVLs in February, and sophomore Emilie Norieka took third in the event. Also in the junior class, Erin Machado (mid-distance), Stephanie McClean (throws), Alexa Hassan (throws) and Jordan Williams (hurdles and relays) will all be in the mix.
Along with Noreika, fellow sophomores Megan Sirowich (mid-distance), Kristen Persico (throws), Amanda Bernardo (throws), Jessica Fox (long distance), Christina Hart (throws), Alli Cianciolo (jumps), Casey Donnelly (hurdles and jumps) and Hayley Andrews (sprints) will give the team many options.
The freshmen class includes Stephanie Poynton, Kristina Poynton, Julia Accetura, Syd Grillo and Michaella Mastropietro to fill out the lineup.
Woodland is recognized throughout the state, and Lownds said the plan is to keep the expectations high this season.
“We want to qualify as many as possible for the Class M meet, and will attend several Invitationals to prepare us,” Lownds said. “We view ourselves as a state program, and want to continue to excel in the league and in the state. We are fortunate to have a good staff of coaches, so we are able to focus on different disciplines at practice each day.”
The Woodland boys, who were edged out by Derby at the conference meet earlier this year, are looking to continue their upward trend.
Led by senior captains Jeff Giusto, Colton Cronin, Sean McAllen, Tyler Collodel and Matt Hopkinson, the Hawks want to continue where they left off in last year’s outdoor season. The Hawks went 15-1 and won a division title.
Giusto was a force in the distance events at the NVL indoor championships — finishing second in the 1000, 1600 and 3200 meters and earning a total of 24 points for the Hawks. Fellow senior Cronin was a part of another top finish in the 4×400 with sophomores Sean Mardin, Matt Luxedor and freshman Edit Krivca, and dropped 10 seconds from their seed time.
“We have a competitive group that is working very hard at getting better every day,” Woodland boys head coach Tim Shea said. “It is a long season. We need to stay healthy and develop some depth with our younger kids. If we can accomplish that along with a little luck we’d like to think that we will be in the conversation come the end of May.”
Seniors Brian Sardinskas (distance), Brandon Clifford (hurdles and jumps), Gregg Fagan (sprints and jumps), Mike Gallagher (throws) and Jeramy Rodrigues (throws) will be contributors.
Junior Isah Miller took fourth for the Hawks in the 600 meters at the indoor championship, and fellow classmates Keith Bodnar (throws), Mark Crowley (pole vault), Matt Giaquinto (distance), Paul Jones (distance), Colin Kennelly (distance), Quincy Koch (hurdles and pole vault) will all be in positions to give the Hawks key points.
Sophomore Tom Smith won the 55 meter dash and the high jump at the NVL indoor meet and will be joined by classmates Tom Bucciferro (distance), Vin Costanzo (distance), Joe Kmetz (throws), Jack LaPerriere (sprints), Matt Mills (hurdles), Ben Nuss (sprints), and Craig Starkey (pole vault), along with freshman Ryan Swanson.
“The NVL is highly competitive as always,” Shea said. “Any number of schools can win the league championship. Teams need to be on every week and you have to score in every event to be successful. It’s a race to 76. The league meet is always fun to watch and it is something that we are looking forward too.”
The Hawks are scheduled to get the season started on Tuesday with a home meet versus Kaynor Tech and Bullard-Havens Tech.