Hawks make run at states

Woodland’s Mary Sardinskas and the girls cross country team finished sixth at the Class SS state championship meet Oct. 26 at Wickham Park in Manchester. –RA ARCHIVE

Woodland’s Mary Sardinskas and the girls cross country team finished sixth at the Class SS state championship meet Oct. 26 at Wickham Park in Manchester. –RA ARCHIVE

MANCHESTER — The Woodland girls cross country team took sixth in the Class SS state championship meet Oct. 26 at Wickham Park in Manchester

After winning the Naugatuck Valley League title two weeks ago in Watertown, the Hawks were led by Clara Drozdowski (18th, 21:27), Mary Sardinskas (20th, 21:34), Stephanie Kiley (22nd, 21:37), Kelsey Mitchell (28th, 21:49) and Bianca Poehailos (62nd, 23:23), along with Carly Giusto (91st, 24:17) and Angeline Rosato (81st, 24:36).

“This was a very satisfying year,” Woodland head coach Jeff Lownds said of the girls’ performance throughout all of 2013. “The girls teams at Woodland won the indoor NVL title, the outdoor NVL title and the cross country NVL title in 2013. That is the trifecta. I am very proud of that fact.”

Multiple team members were honored following the regular season. Drozdowski, Sardinskas and Kiley earned All-NVL honors by finishing in the top eight at the league championship meet, while Mitchell and Poehailos were awarded All-Brass Division recognition.

The Hawks were undefeated (13-0) during the regular season and captured their first NVL and division championships since 2009. The team’s game plan was simple, but effective.  

“The girls had a great approach this season,” Lownds said. “We went one meet at a time, won the division, then ran very well at NVLs and states. Sixth is a good finish.”

The boys team took 14th at the Class M event last Saturday, also at Wickham Park.

Woodland’s top finishers were Jeff Giusto (55th, 18:48), Dean Conway (80th, 19:18), Brian Sardinskas (86th, 19:30), Zach Noreika (87th, 19:32) and Jimmy Jensen (99th, 19:58). Matthew Butterworth (20:26) and Paul Jones (20:59) also competed and finished the course.

Giusto and Noreika were All-Brass Division honorees in the NVL. The team was 11-3 overall and took fourth at the league championship meet in Watertown.

“The boys constantly improved throughout the season and had an excellent work ethic,” Lownds said.