BEACON FALLS — Woodland girls swim coach Mike Magas knew the Hawks would need to step up their efforts to replace all the record-holders they graduated from last season.
Woodland broke out in the win column to start the season by defeating Holy Cross, 93-84. But the Hawks have fallen on hard times over the last week, dropping tough decisions to Sheehan (104-81), Torrington (89-81) and Southington (93-82) and falling to 1-3 on the year.
“We lost so much production from last year, it’s been a challenge to replace that kind of talent,” Magas said.
The Hawks didn’t come into this season empty-handed. Senior captains Chrissy Leeper and Sydney Corneau were part of three record-breaking relay teams last season. Fellow captain Jesse Erickson also provides experience to the lineup.
In the season-opening win over Holy Cross it was the foursome of Corneau, Leeper, Sara Fowler and Emma Sardinskas racing to victory in the 200 freestyle relay. Corneau also had first-place finishes in the 50 and 100 freestyles while Katie Porter won the 100 breaststroke to pace the Hawks.
Seniors Rachel Gerard, Sarah Parker, Whitney Stow and Emily Trumbley bring experience and depth to the group. Woodland is also looking for the diving team of seniors Kim Thrasher and Liz Martin along with freshman Lauren Lombardo to put points on the board under the direction of new diving coach Doug Mariano.
“We just started the season and we will get better,” Magas assured. “Kim and Liz put up around 130 to 150 points in diving last year. They have averaged around 120 so far but once they get back into the groove they will improve their scores. Sophomore Sara Fowler has also been chipping in, splitting her time between swimming and diving. Junior Brianna Christiano is still making her way back from a broken foot and she’s not at 100 percent.”
Woodland also has a couple of younger swimmers in freshmen Chloe Ariola and Erin Mascoli, who are working hard to add a little more depth to the lineup.
The Hawks battled Torrington down to the wire, losing the final event in the 400 relay as the Red Raiders took first and third to put the finishing touches on the meet.
Woodland did have a few bright spots with Leeper taking two first-place finishes in the 200 IM and the 100 butterfly. Corneau took first in the 50 free and second in the 100 free while Sardinskas had two second-place showings in the 200 and 500 freestyles.
On Tuesday, Leeper won the 100 fly and 100 breast while Corneau took the 100 back and the 400 free relay team won to wrap up the loss to Southington.
There is no rest for the weary as Woodland has four meets over the next week, with West Haven on Thursday, Watertown on Friday, Wilby on Tuesday and Lyman Hall on Wednesday.
“My feeling is it will make them more competitive swimming in meets against opponents as opposed to practice,” Magas said. “Besides, I think the girls will go out and perform harder against actual competition then they would at practice. It will make us better in the long run once the state meets begin.”