Hawks ready to take on NVL 

BEACON FALLS — The the Woodland cross country teams have hit their stride heading into the NVLs.

The boys capped a perfect NVL regular season, while the girls finished an impressive 13-1 in the conference and won their division. The boys defeated Derby, Holy Cross and Sacred Heart on Oct. 10 — and made history.

“I told the boys going into the meet you have a chance to be the first undefeated team in my 17 years,” Woodland head coach Jeff Lownds said. “They were aggressive to start today and kept it up.”

Woodland had five boys in the top 10.

Matt Luxedor led the Hawks in third, while Kyle Crowell took fourth and Wes Stein placed fifth. Greg Aldrich took seventh and Charlie Schwarz was 10th to give the Hawks much-needed points.

“Charlie closed really well today,” Lownds said of the first-year runner’s performance. “He passed Holy Cross and Derby runners in the final 150 meters.”

The Hawks defeated Watertown and Oxford on Oct. 3 with more clutch performances by Luxedor, Aldrich and Crowell, who finished first, third and fourth respectively. The Hawks will need more clutch performances when they head to Watertown on Wednesday for the NVL championship.

“We’ve had a very rewarding regular season and we’re going to give it our best next week,” Lownds added.

Lownds had a similar message for the girls team, which picked up two wins Tuesday. The team’s one loss Tuesday — the girls’ only loss of the season — came against Derby, the defending Class S champs.

Emma Slavin finished second overall for Woodland and made a dramatic finish. She passed two Derby runners and nearly caught the race’s top finisher Rachel Fleischer of Derby.

“Emma was fourth with about 200 meters to go,” Lownds said. “It was one of the best finishes we’ve had in a while.”

Jaden Young was seventh, Jill Brotherton was eighth and Emile Norieka was 10th for Woodland in the meet on Tuesday.

Last week, the Woodland girls put on an impressive display, taking second through fifth against Watertown and Oxford. Slavin, Young, Brooke Iannone and Brotherton combined to give Woodland two victories that day.

Lownds is pleased with where the girls are heading into the NVL meet.

“This is where the team should be,” Lownds said. “We’re going into next week with every intention of winning it.”