Strong senior class leads Hawks

Woodland’s Camille Terrell swims the butterfly leg of the 200 medley relay during a meet with Waterbury Career Academy-Wilby-Kaynor Tech Oct. 17 at Woodland Regional High School in Beacon Falls. – BILL SHETTLE/REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

BEACON FALLS — As the girls swim season approached the postseason, Woodland coach Mike Magas had the opportunity to thank a nine-senior class with whom he’s built a seven-year relationship.

“They just mean so much,” Magas said after the Hawks’ senior night Oct. 17. “I’ve been with many of them since they were in sixth grade. They bring a strong work ethic, positive both in the pool and in the classroom. They embrace the work ethic. It’s a group of great leaders.”

The group consists of Lauren Avery, Hailey Bernier, Casey Brooks, Victoria Gugliotti, Mairead Reilly, Aly Rojcov, Grace Rua, Morgan Swift and Camille Terrell.

Many of those swimmers have also played an important role in Woodland’s success so far this fall. The Hawks approach the end of the regular season with only one loss in Naugatuck Valley League dual-meet competition, against Seymour on Sept. 27.

Since that defeat to the Wildcats, Woodland reeled off four straight wins against NVL competition — Torrington, Oxford, Sacred Heart and Wilby-Kaynor Tech-Waterbury Career.

“The girls have been showing steady improvement,” Magas said. “We’ve been holding our own against a pretty competitive schedule.”

Woodland’s Ella Bernegger executes a dive during a meet with Waterbury Career Academy-Wilby-Kaynor Tech Oct. 17 at Woodland Regional High School in Beacon Falls. -BILL SHETTLE/REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

Terrell, Swift and Rojcov — three of the team’s five captains, along with Brooks and Rua — have racked up the most victories among the senior class this year. But the Hawks have also benefitted from an extraordinary group of underclassmen that has also been in the win column quite often.

Sophomore Kyla Behrle is one of the team’s top overall swimmers, and freshmen Molly Kennedy and Maura Beltrami have also been among the consistent winners. Magas has been pleased with all of his young swimmers, including freshmen Sarah Cooley and Liana Demirs.

“They’ve blossomed from that first practice and first meet, and they’ve just gotten more confident,” Magas said.

Divers Ella Bernegger, Kayleigh Theroux and Shaelin DiGioia have also given the Hawks a quality trio on the board.

The Hawks conclude the regular season Tuesday at Kennedy and Thursday at Pomperaug. They’ll get some time off to prepare for the NVL championships. The NVL swim trials are set for Nov. 4, with diving finals set for Nov. 6 and swim finals set for Nov. 8.

“Our goal will be to continue to work hard over the next few weeks,” Magas said, “and we’ll slowly start resting the girls with the goal of swimming their best times at the championships.”