Hawks look to find their rhythm

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Woodland’s Mike Lang, pictured above from a tri-meet last May, has taken his leaping skills inside this winter and has already qualified for the state indoor track competition in both the long jump and high jump. RA ARCHIVE

BEACON FALLS — The only way Woodland indoor track coach Tim Shea can describe the first month of this season is, “weird.”

Shea, the boys head coach, and girls head coach Jeff Lownds are struggling to find the team’s rhythm after a wacky schedule that has seen the team only attend a couple of meets.

“Surprisingly, we haven’t been a lot of places,” Shea said. “I don’t think most teams in the league have either. [The NVL championships] are just about a month away, and it’s going to get here fast.”

The indoor track season is generally one of the shortest seasons of the year, lasting from about mid-December to mid-February. But this year, Shea says it feels more rushed than usual.

“Some of the scheduling hasn’t worked out,” Shea said. “I can’t explain it. It just seems like a short winter. I know we’re in the same boat as just about everybody, looking around the state and seeing not a ton of qualifying marks being posted.”

But the next few weeks should finally give the Hawks a chance to gauge their prospects for the Naugatuck Valley League and state meets. Woodland will compete in larger meets, including the Shoreline Invitational and the Yale Classic over the next two weeks.

“We’re looking forward to the next two meets to work on some individual stuff,” Shea said. “We’ve been at some meets where we’ve just run relays.”

On the boys side, relays have been strong points again. Nick LaPerriere, Anthony Scirpo, Adam Baz, and Marc Beaulieu have led the relay efforts for a team that won multiple races at last year’s league championship meet.

Individually, Mike Lang has excelled in the jumping events. He has qualified for state competition in both the long jump and high jump. Shea said he has jumped over 20 feet in the long jump and also cleared 5-foot-10 in the high jump.

Throwers Levi Fancher and Dave LaChance have also qualified for states in the shot put with 39-plus-foot throws. Tim Madormo, one of the league’s top hurdlers, has run in the mid-8-second range, according to Shea.

A number of girls made strong showings at the recent Rhode Island Classic. Ashley Riley qualified for state competition with a long jump of 16-0.5 while Tayler Boncal also qualified in the 300-meter dash with a time of 43.38 seconds. Both marks are in the top five of posted state qualifiers.

The girls 4-by-200-meter relay team of Boncal, Steph Dumond, Jiye Park, and Alaina Neddermann also impressed the coaching staff.

“We were very pleased with the 4-by-200 team,” Shea said. “The girls had a very good day up there in the races that we did.”

Over the next few weeks, Shea hopes to gain some clarity of which athletes will compete in which events at championship meets.

“The next two weeks will hopefully shake out some things for us to see who we’ll put where,” Shea said. “People don’t think we plot and scheme in track, but we try to think of where we’ll put kids. We’re hoping to get some kids qualified for states over the next few weeks.”

With the NVL championship meet set for Jan. 31 at the New Haven Field House — about a week earlier than normal — Shea said it’s tough to predict what will happen right now.

“It’s real short season for everyone this year,” Shea said. “Not a lot of teams have done much yet. It might come down to who does well that night.”