Hawks out to be front-runners

Woodland cross country captains, from left, junior Emilie Noreika, and seniors Meredith Dyckman, Matthew Giaquinto and Colin Kennelly will lead the Hawks this season. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

Woodland cross country captains, from left, junior Emilie Noreika, and seniors Meredith Dyckman, Matthew Giaquinto and Colin Kennelly will lead the Hawks this season. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

BEACON FALLS — After a 15-1 record and a second-place finish in the NVL, the Woodland boys cross country team looks to have another competitive year in 2016.

The boys have finished second in the NVL two straight years, and have many quality runners returning this season.

In the senior class, captains Matt Giaquinto and Colin Kennelly will lead the Hawks into action, along with classmates Paul Jones and Tyler Orloski. Jones (16th), Giaquinto (18th) and Kennelly (46th) all had top-50 finishes in the NVLs last season.

“We return several of our boys who were 15-1 last season,” Woodland head coach Jeff Lownds said. “We have a dedicated groups of boys who work hard each day and want to have a good NVL season and perform well in Class SS.”

Lownds, now in his 16th season, and assistant coach Chris Misuraca, will also have a junior class featuring all-division selection Matt Luxeder, who finished 13th last year at NVLs. Tom Bucciferro, Justin Raymond, Emilio Dule, Wes Stein, J.J. Ryan and Vinnie Costanzo will also be in the mix.

Sophomore Kyle Crowell earned All-NVL honors and had the best finish of any Woodland runner last year at NVLs. He finished 12th overall.

Along with Crowell, sophomores Luke Nolan, Greg Aldrich, Nick Piscitelli will look to progress.

After three straight NVL titles, the Woodland girls finished third last season with a 14-2 record. They also welcome back experience and successful runners.

Senior Meredith Dyckman and junior Emilie Noreika will serve as the team’s captains. Dykman was 36th last season in the NVLs, while Noreika was 43rd overall.

Meg Terni and Sydney Patterson, both seniors, along with junior Jessica Fox will also be in the lineup.

“We are fortunate to have a good group of underclassmen with us this year and hope to have another successful season,” Lownds said. “The girls team shows improvement every day, so we want to do well each week and make a good showing in Class M and in the NVL.”

There’s also a younger group of runners who will be called upon to contribute. Sophomores Bayan Galal and Nia Allen, and freshmen Emma Slavin, Jill Brotherton, Diondra Owusu and Calisa Costanzo will all be looking to get better.

The Hawks open at Naugatuck Sept. 13 against Naugy, Kennedy and Seymour.