BY KYLE BRENNAN
In the week leading up to the NVL indoor track championships, Woodland kept its runners, jumpers and throwers awfully busy.
The Hawks participated in three tune-ups in the eight days leading up to Friday’s league championship meet at the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven. The run-up started Jan. 19 with a meet at Glastonbury High, followed by the Southern Connecticut Conference Coaches’ Invitational on Jan. 21 and the Shoreline Coaches’ Invitational earlier this week.
Woodland coaches Jeff Lownds and Bill Ferrare used those meets not only to keep their athletes in top condition and try to earn more state championship qualifiers, but also to figure out which athletes will compete in which events at the NVL championships.
“We’re going in with some very talented athletes,” Lownds said. “We’re going to make our best attempt to do as well as we can.”
Entering the league meet, the Hawks have a number of championship contenders who will also be factors at the state level in February. Topping the list are Sarah Cooley, who had the third-best shot put in the state as of Jan. 19, and Alex Farr, who was seeded second in Class S in the 600 meters as of Jan. 19.
Other athletes to watch, according to Lownds, include Kian Sirowich and Isabella Bianchini in pole vault, Emma Swanson, Brian Babo and Peter Dupre in shot put, Dani Celotto and Faye Carnemolla in the 1,600, Sam Ambrocio in the 1,000, Ervin Owusu in the 55 and long jump, and Laci Davis in the long jump. The Hawks also have a number of competitive relay teams.
“We’ve had a very good season with some real high-end kids,” Lownds said. “We’re going to try to put our high-end kids in where they individually can do well, and once we have that set up, we’ll take a look at what relays we can fill. … We’re juggling some lineups around.”
Woodland’s top relay team might be its boys sprint medley relay squad, and Lownds said that group, which is a Class S contender, wants an NVL gold medal first.
“Our boys sprint medley team really wants to run as a group [at NVLs] because they’re seeded in the top three of Class S,” Lownds said.
Lownds said it’s hard to know what to expect at this year’s league championships, which Naugatuck will enter as defending champion on both the boys and girls sides.
“Naugatuck will be good, Derby will be good, Watertown will be good, and Woodland will be good,” Lownds said. “Other teams have good athletes in various spots; St. Paul has two very good girls hurdlers and a boy who will probably win long jump, but we’ll be in the mix. I’d love to win it, and we’re going to give it our best shot.”
BY KYLE BRENNAN