In their first real team meet of the season last Saturday at the Shoreline Coaches Invitational in New Haven, Woodland — especially the boys — made about as strong a showing as could have been expected with limited meet and practice time so far.
The boys tied for second out of 29 teams who scored at the meet while the girls managed to score a point as both squads faced their first stiff competition of the season.
Over the first month of this season, meet and practice schedules have been disrupted for all sorts of reasons. But Woodland boys coach Tim Shea said he thinks everything points toward a fast few weeks before the championship season starts at the end of the month.
“This year it’s a real short season meet-wise,” Shea said. “By the way the holidays fell, it threw off some of the schedules and practice times. Everybody’s in the same boat. Now that we’re into January, we practice all week and compete on the weekends.”
At the Shoreline meet, held at the Floyd Little Athletic Center, the Woodland boys picked up 39 points, trailing only New London’s 48.
Mike Lang was the star of the day, winning the long jump with a bound of 21 feet, 6 ½ inches — more than a foot better than the nearest competitor. He also placed second in the high jump with a lead of 5-8, just two inches short of the top mark.
“Those are pretty good jumps for this early in the year,” Shea said.
Lang was also part of the 4-by-200-meter relay team that finished second in 1 minute, 37.33 seconds. Nick LaPerriere, Scott Seigle and Anthony Scirpo joined Lang on the squad, which finished behind New London in that race.
The boys sprint medley relay team of Scirpo, Hunter Watford, Andy Hale and Nick Hebert placed fifth in 3:59.87, the 4-by-400 squad of Hale, LaPerriere, Brett Fowler and Daemion Powell was sixth in 3:48.08.
Several of the relay runners also posted strong individual finishes. Scirpo was fifth in the 55-meter dash, finishing less than two-tenths of a second behind the winner with a time of 6.97 seconds.
LaPerriere also racked up a fifth-place effort in the 300, crossing the line less than a second behind the winner with a time of 38.16 seconds. Hale was 10th in the 1,000, finishing in 2:52.95.
Levi Fancher also made a strong showing in the field, taking third place in the shot put with a heave of 42-8, less than a foot off the winning mark.
On the girls side, Steph Dumond enjoyed the best individual finish of the day with a sixth-place effort in the 55, finishing a half-second off the winning pace with a mark of 7.98 seconds.
Tayler Boncal was seventh in the 300, posting a time of 45.58 seconds, while Megan Lynch came in ninth in the pole vault with a leap of 7 feet.
The 4-by-400 relay team of Jazmyn Menzies, Sydney Corneau, Amber Tolboe and Boncal earned the girls’ best relay finish of the day, placing seventh in 4:36.28.
Other athletes who earned top-20 individual finishes included Jiye Park, Fowler, Hebert, Clara Drozdowski, Watford, Anthony Cristillo, Kyle Beynor, Ian Chamenko, Steph Kiley, Corneau, Erika Tyrell, Nikole Tyrell, Patrick Hale, Becca Moscato and Menzies.
While only a handful of Hawks have qualified for next month’s state competition, Shea said that’s because there have only been a few chances to do so. He expects plenty more to emerge over the next few weeks, which includes an important meet at the Southern Connecticut Coaches Invitational, followed by the Naugatuck Valley League Developmental and the Yale Scholastic Classic.
They all lead up to the NVL championships Jan. 29 at Hillhouse, where both teams will try to defend their titles.
“These next couple weeks are going to be huge,” Shea said. “We’ll start playing with some potential NVL lineups. Times are going to drop and distances will get further. It should be a very good NVL final. Hopefully we can put together a championship team.”