Hawks surpass exceed expectations

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BEACON FALLS — A year after the most successful season in school history, Woodland girls swimming coach Mike Magas wasn’t sure what to expect out of his team this fall. But after the Hawks wrapped up the regular season with an 8-3 record, they couldn’t be much more pleased.

“That was our hope, but the girls stepped up — even the younger ones filled in shoes of the girls who graduated,” Magas said. “They went beyond what we really expected. It was kind of a rebuilding year, but we beat some pretty good teams in Watertown and Sacred Heart and we had some close meets against Naugatuck and Seymour.”

Woodland closed the dual-meet season with wins over Wilby-Kaynor Tech-Waterbury Career and Kennedy. Among the Hawks’ individual winners at those meets were Aly Rojcov (200 freestyle, 50 free), Spenser Burkowsky (200 individual medley), Meghan Letorneau (100 butterfly), Camille Terrell (100 free), Samantha Erickson (500 free), Emily Beyer (200 free), Alyssa VanAlstyne (diving) and Kyla Behrle (100 fly). Casey Brooks, Taylor Wasilewski and Natalie Katrenya also swam on winning relay teams.

With the Naugatuck Valley League championships coming up at the end of the month, Magas feels as though his team is about to peak at the right time.

“We’re feeling very confident,” Magas said. “Throughout the season, we never took any rest days. We didn’t see any substantial drops (in times), but we’re expecting those at NVLs.”

Magas said he expects Behrle, Rojcov, Brooks, Terrell and Morgan Swift to compete for medals at the league championships. He also pointed to Burkowsky, Wasilewski, Beyer and Letorneau as potential breakout stars at the meet.

“What I’d like for them to do is have the returning girls swim faster times than they did last year,” Magas said of his individual goals for the meet.

The NVL swim trials are set for Oct. 30 at Kennedy High. Woodland will host the diving finals Nov. 1, and the swim finals are scheduled for Nov. 2 at Kennedy. The Hawks are the defending league champions, but Seymour is the overwhelming favorite to win this year’s crown.