Holy Cross relays doom Woodland

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BEACON FALLS — The good news for the Woodland boys’ swimming and diving team is that it’s been close in just about every single meet. The bad news is that the Hawks have fallen short in most of those contests. That was the case last Friday, as Woodland fell narrowly to Holy Cross, 97-88.

Though the Hawks trailed the entire meet, strong individual performances by Patrick O’Dell and Adam Trumbley in the 100-yard backstroke and 100-yard breaststroke, respectively, pulled Woodland within seven points heading into the final event, the 400-yard freestyle relay. The Crusaders, though, pulled out a first-place finish by just .07 seconds to clinch the win.

Woodland head coach Tom Currie was still pleased by his team’s performance and said even though his squad has been coming out on the losing end of many meets, it has been competitive in each and still has a chance to place well in the Naugatuck Valley League.

“Well, third place at NVLs is going to be a fun battle,” Currie said. “It’s going to be a fun battle for third, fourth, and fifth. We’ve been battling it out with everybody else, and they’ve been close meets with everybody. Even Seymour, who we beat, was a close meet. So, it’s going to be fun.”

Holy Cross jumped out to an 8-6 lead with a victory in the 200-yard medley relay by Austin Troisi, Mark Augustauskas, Dan Fazzino, and James Silva in one minute, 50.95 seconds. But the Hawks performed well in the individual events throughout the afternoon, winning four races. Unfortunately for Woodland, the Green and Gold took all three relay events, essentially making up the difference.

“Our weak points are our relay transitions,” Currie said of his team’s relative weakness in relay events. “We have to practice that.”

Will Gerard won the 200-yard freestyle in 2:01.12 to keep Woodland close early, but Cross’ Joe Buderwitz took the 200-yard individual medley in 2:12.31 to extend the Crusaders’ lead.

Eric Dietz responded to the Cross win in the 200 individual medley with a victory of his own in the 50-yard freestyle sprint, finishing with a time of 24.84 seconds to close the deficit to 33-29.

Holy Cross won the next five events to pull away. Eric Briere, one of the NVL’s best divers, easily won the diving portion of the meet with a superb score of 244.75. He was followed by Troisi’s win in the 100-yard fly (59.71 seconds), Fazzino’s victory in the 100-yard freestyle (54.47 seconds), Buderwitz taking the 500-yard freestyle, in 5:23.01, and a team win in the 200-yard freestyle relay, with a time of 1:39.79.

Woodland tried to engineer a comeback after falling behind, 76-63, with a pair of individual wins near the end of the meet. O’Dell clinched the 100-yard backstroke in 1:00.11 before Trumbley captured the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:07.92 to give the Hawks a chance heading into the 400-yard freestyle relay.

The Crusaders’ relay dominance showed again in the ultimate event, however, as the team of Buderwitz, Eric Misemis, Paul Hickey, and Silva finished in a time of 3:45.48, just besting the time of Dietz, O’Dell, Gerard, and Trumbley, who posted a 3:45.55.

The loss dropped the Hawks to 2-8 overall (2-5 in the NVL), but Currie took several positives out of the losing effort.

“Our strong points are everything else [besides the relays],” he said. “We’re all getting close to best times. We actually swam our fastest times today. [The Crusaders] swam their best times today too, so it all evens out, but you can’t complain about that really.”

Woodland is back in action Friday when it travels to Sheehan.