Setting the pace

Naugatuck boys, Woodland girls sweep opening meet


MIDDLEBURY — Hop Brook was buzzing Tuesday afternoon as four NVL teams went head to head in the season’s first cross country meet.

The Naugatuck boys opened the defense of their NVL championship by sweeping the field with wins over Kennedy (20-33), Woodland (19-36) and Seymour (15-45).

The Woodland boys defeated Seymour, 18-45, but came up short to Kennedy (25-30) and Naugatuck (19-36).

Naugatuck’s Graden Beasley won the boys’ race in 17:37. The Greyhounds settled the matter with David Kearns placing third in 18:23, Elliot Via fifth in 18:41, Ross Via sixth in 18:51 and Brandon Thomas 11th in 19:46.

“I didn’t want to go out and set the pace,” Beasley said. “But then I got concerned about getting boxed in so I created some room up front. The guys have been working hard and this is a great way to start the season.”

The Hawks had a couple of solid finishes but not enough to overtake the Greyhounds. Vin Costanzo finished fourth for Woodland in 18:32 and Matt Luxeder was seventh in 19:02. Wes Stein finished 13th in 19:56 and Greg Aldrich took 14th in 20:26.

The Woodland girls were the surprise team of the day sweeping Naugatuck (24-35), Seymour (15-47) and Kennedy (15-48).

“It was really a pleasant surprise,” Woodland head coach Jeff Lownds said. “Only two of our top five runners have experience and we had three freshman finish in the top ten.

“Hop Brook is a tough place to race. Hopefully our boys can regroup and do better next time out. We definitely need to improve our times but we just need to stay focused and take it one meet at a time.”

The Naugatuck girls fell short to Woodland but picked up wins over Seymour (19-36) and Kennedy (20-35).

Naugatuck’s Lauren Stankiewicz won the girls’ race well ahead of the rest of the field in a time of 23:17. Woodland’s Emilie Noreika took second in 23:38.

“It felt good to get the win,” Stankiewicz said. “My biggest challenge came during the second half of the race when I rolled my ankle slightly. There was a lot of competition and I was able to hold the lead.”

Naugatuck’s Abby Lombardi was third in 24:28. Woodland captured the next five spots to win the meet. Emma Slavin was fourth (24:41), Jill Brotherron was fifth (25:09), Meredith Dyckman was sixth (26:10), Carisa Costanza seventh (26:23) and Jessie Fox eighth (26:25). Naugatuck’s Briana Lennon was ninth (26:33) and Lauren Rupsis was tenth (27:56).

Woodland and Naugatuck are back in action Sept. 20. The Hawks will face Waterbury Career, St. Paul Catholic and Wilby. The Greyhounds will face Crosby, Ansonia and Holy Cross.