Hawks rack up medals, qualify for states at indoor meets

BEACON FALLS — There was no coal in the stockings for the Woodland indoor track team at recent holiday meets in which the Hawks competed.

Woodland girls coach Jeff Lownds was excited by the Hawks’ success on both the girls and boys sides at Wilton’s Reindeer Relays on Dec. 21 and the Hillhouse Holiday Invitational on Dec. 28.

“Everybody’s had at least one meet,” said Lownds, whose team also competed in a meet at Glastonbury High. “We’ve had some state qualifiers already, which is good.”

Many of those qualifiers came at the unique Reindeer Relays, which are run on a 150-meter track and includes distances such as the 45-meter hurdles and the 4×375 relay.

Emma Slavin and Chloe Poulos both qualified in the mile, while Jasmine Michie qualified by breaking her own school record in the shot put at 36 feet, 6 1/2 inches. Cole Barrows (pole vault) and Eric Meade (high jump) were also among the state qualifiers.

Woodland racked up 32 medals in all, including many in the relays against stiff competition.

“It’s a good early-season meet,” said Lownds, pointing to competitors from Darien, New Canaan, Norwalk, Joel Barlow and Wilton, among others. “We saw some good teams there. It was a real good day for us down there.”

Lownds was particularly happy with the relay performance of the boys 4×225 squad, which included a pair of freshmen in Ervin Owusu and Alex Farr. They were part of a third-place finish. He also cited sophomore Cassidy Doiron (shot put) and freshman Landon Barrows (hurdles) for qualifying performances.

At the Hillhouse Holiday Invitational, another school record went down as Jaden Young re-upped her previous mark by running the 1000 in 3:08.23. Jade Brennan also qualified for states in the 300.

Lownds also pointed out recent efforts by Rebecca Benoit, Sara Alessio, Luca Cambra, Colin Slavin, Chase Young and Cole Verrelli. Many of the standouts, especially on the boys side, are sophomores.

“We’re a little upperclassman-heavy on the girls side, but not on the boys side,” said Lownds, whose team captains are George Hughes and Cole Barrows for the boys and Emma Slavin and Michie for the girls.

Woodland will continue to compete in tune-up meets in advance of the Naugatuck Valley League championships Feb. 3 in New Haven.

“We’ve had good performances by the people we’ve expected to do well, and we’ve gotten a few surprises,” Lownds said. “They have some track talent and they’re putting it to good use. We’re very pleased with where we are right now.”

Correction: Alex Farr’s name was misspelled in an earlier version of this article.