Hawks flying high into track season

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Sophomore Mike Lang and the Woodland boys and girls track teams are carrying the momentum of winning the Naugatuck Valley League indoor championships into the outdoor season. –RA ARCHIVE

BEACON FALLS — An outdoor track team can’t have much more momentum than coming off an indoor championship.

Consider the Woodland track squads full of momentum.

Both the boys and girls enter the spring season with Naugatuck Valley League indoor championships under their belts, and almost all the pieces from those title-winning units will be at it again, trying to make it four-for-four.

But boys coach Tim Shea, who along with girls coach Jeff Lownds is at the helm again for the Hawks, said an indoor championship doesn’t mean an outdoor title is guaranteed.

“In some areas we’re better than we were in indoor, but in some areas we’ll need some work,” Shea said. “There are more total events and one fewer relay outdoor, so you try to match up better with the other teams to find the most points. There is a lot more strategy that goes into it.”

For the boys, about the only piece missing from the indoor title squad is Anthony Scirpo, an All-NVL sprinter who plays baseball in the spring. But Woodland compensates with the addition of senior sprinter Eric Dietz, who was busy swimming during the winter.

Senior captain Marc Beaulieu gives the Hawks a great deal of flexibility in nearly every track event.

“Marc Beaulieu is our grunt guy,” Shea said. “He’ll do anything from the 200 on up. You name it, he’ll do it. He likes to lead off relays to set the intensity. He takes things seriously and leads by good example.”

Senior Tim Madormo, a multi-time league hurdles champion, also returns this spring.

Jon Alarcon (sprints), Nick LaPerriere (sprints), Brett Fowler (hurdles), Adam Baz, Nick Hebert, Joe Reynolds, Andy Hale, Ian Chamenko, Jack Pinho, and Pat Hale (all mid-to-long distance) figure to help the boys in scoring.

Shea also expects the field events to provide ample scoring opportunities for the boys. Sophomore Mike Lang and sophomore Levi Fancher have established themselves not only as two of the top young athletes in the league, but as two of the top athletes in the league, period, with strong performances indoors.

Also returning for the boys is Scott Lang, last year’s Class M javelin champ.

“People forget he was the Class M state champion last year,” Shea said of Lang, who will be joined again by Matt Zaccagnini to give the Hawks one of the best javelin pairs in the league. “He’s going to be big for us.”

Depth on the track will be a key for the girls squad, which also won the indoor championship. Tayler Boncal returns as one of the top mid-distance runners in the league. She will be joined by Steph Dumond, Jiye Park, Alaina Neddermann, and Amber Tolboe in the sprints and mid-distance events.

Park and Ashley Riley are among the two best jumpers in the league. Park was last year’s outdoor champion in the triple jump, and Riley is a multi-time league champion in various jumping events. Since the triple jump isn’t contested indoors, the coaching staff expects extra points in that category.

The girls’ main spot of need comes in the throwing events, as they lost both Olivia Poryanda and Kelsey Deegan from last season. But the cupboard is not bare.

“The Tyrell sisters [Nicole and Erika] are really working hard to fill in,” Shea said.

The story will be the same for both squads as was in the indoor season — not necessarily that they’re destined to win another pair of titles (although that’s the not-so-secret goal, according to Shea), but that relays will be the Hawks’ strong suit again.

“We’ve got a lot of depth in the short- and mid-distance events,” Shea said. “That helped us a lot in indoor because we can plug different kids in relays. Some weeks we’ll run great relays, and some weeks we’ll let some other kids get chances.”

Woodland begins the season with three meets in the first week. The Hawks hosted Wilby on Wednesday and will head to the Bellringer Invitational in East Hampton Saturday before a quad-meet Tuesday at Wolcott against the Eagles, Kennedy, and St. Paul.