Hawks split pair of meets to open season

Woodland’s Jake Arisian does the butterfly during the 200 medley relay against Northwestern Dec. 20 at Woodland Regional High School in Beacon Falls. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

BEACON FALLS — Woodland boys swimming coach Tom Currier couldn’t believe how well his Hawks swam in their first meet of the season.

“(The Dec. 18 meet against Oxford) was a shock — a happy shock,” Currier said. “(The Dec. 20 meet against Northwestern) was a little more grounding, but they’re right on. Freshmen are dropping times. The kids are doing well. They’re swimming fast. They’ve got good attitudes.”

Woodland soared past Oxford, 97-75, in the season-opening meet. Greg Aldrich (200 individual medley and 100 freestyle) was a double-winner for the Hawks, while Riley Clark (diving), Joe Flaherty (50 free), Jake Arisian (100 butterfly) and Cameron Heeman (500 free) also won individual events.

The 200 medley relay squad of Aldrich, Arisian, Pat Zieba and Noah Scott, and the 200 free relay team of Flaherty, Scott, Ryan Curtin and Zac Bertrand also claimed victories against the Wolverines.

Berkshire League powerhouse Northwestern proved to be a tougher opponent as the Highlanders cruised past the Hawks, 93-88, with the last few events being swum with unofficial times for Northwestern.

Clark won the diving event again, and the 200 medley relay group of Zieba, Curtin, Arisian and Flaherty won the meet-opening event. The Hawks were missing Aldrich and Jeff Varesio, who have been battling illnesses.

Currier wasn’t surprised that his team’s times weren’t quite as quick against Northwestern with only one day of rest between the first two meets of the year.

Woodland’s Ryan Curtin does the breaststroke during the 200 medley relay against Northwestern Dec. 20 at Woodland Regional High School in Beacon Falls. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

“We’re two weeks deep into getting in shape,” Currier said. “Last meet, they had a lot of best times. It’s hard to go from a meet to a day off to a meet. But we’re right on their best times already.”

Woodland’s group of about a dozen freshmen have impressed Currier in the early going. He pointed out the efforts of Arisian, Jackson Bradley and Aiden Kennedy, among others.

“Jake Arisian is definitely going to be our freshman of the year,” Currier said. “Jackson Bradley has a great backstroke. Aiden Kennedy is a natural freestyler. Everybody really has a great attitude and work ethic, so they’ll get it.”

With two weeks between the meet against Northwestern and the Hawks’ next competition at Torrington on Jan. 4, Currier said the extended practice time around the holidays would be used for further conditioning.

“(The week between the holidays) is hard,” Currier said. “We throw the books at them. They’re going to be hurting a little bit.”