Hawks perform well at Class M track championships

NEW BRITAIN — Woodland’s scored more points at the Class M outdoor track championships in the past. The Hawks have boasted state champs before. But despite a team performance that may not have been as star-studded as it’s been in previous years, Woodland coach Jeff Lownds was still proud of what he saw.

“We’re happy we went,” Lownds said. “We had some really good performances. We have no complaints.”

The Woodland girls finished 20th with 17 points, well behind runaway champion Weston (95.5 points). The Woodland boys placed 28th with 3.5 points, plenty shy of winner Tolland (68 points).

One of Lownds’ favorite performances of the day was Emma Slavin’s effort in the 3200 meters. She finished fourth in 11 minutes, 31.49 seconds, but it was the way she worked herself into that position that impressed the longtime coach.

“Emma Slavin did such a fantastic job in the 3200,” Lownds said. “With two laps to go, I think she was sixth. She ended up fourth. She ran away from the two girls in front of her. She wasn’t going to catch the top three, but she has tremendous heart and works so hard.”

Jaden Young also lowered her own school record in the 800 for the second time this season. She placed fifth in 2:20.07, and for good measure she placed seventh in the 3200 in 12:00.57.

Lownds credits Young and Slavin for their coachability and hard work in becoming two of the most successful distance runners in program history.

“Jaden and Emma worked a lot with (assistant coach) Mario Longo,” Lownds said. “He deserves a lot of credit for their success. He puts the formula out there and they follow it.”

The top individual effort of last Wednesday’s meet at Willow Brook Park for the Hawks came in the shot put, where Jasmine Michie hit a mark of 35 feet, 1 inch to finish third and qualify for the State Open.

Michie, Young and Slavin earned spots at the Open, which is Monday.

Two other Woodland athletes competed in two individual events. Steve Persico finished sixth in the javelin (149-4) and 14th in the discus (112-1), while Chloe Poulos was ninth in the 1600 (5:34.26) and 13th in the 3200 (12:22.71).

Eric Meade was eighth in the high jump (5-8), while Hailey Bernier was 11th in the pole vault (8 feet) and Jade Brennan was 14th in the 400 (1:02.10). Brennan’s time in the 400 was her season-best performance.

Brennan also ran with Kim Poulos, Brooke Iannone and Jill Brotherton on the 12th-place 4×800 relay team. Kim Poulos, Rebecca Benoit, Sara Alessio and Julia Accetura formed a patchwork 4×100 squad due to absences of other runners and finished 20th with the team’s second-best time of the year.

The 4×800 boys relay group of Charlie Schwarz, Mike Falcone, Nathaniel Smith and Matthew Iannone finished 15th with a season-best time, as well.

“We had a really good day,” Lownds said. “It was a good way to end the season for us.”