Hawks respond loud and clear

Woodland's Kyla Drewry swims the 100 butterfly Tuesday versus Oxford in Beacon Falls. Drewry won the event and the Hawks won the meet, 101-85. –REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN
Woodland’s Kyla Drewry swims the 100 butterfly Tuesday versus Oxford in Beacon Falls. Drewry won the event and the Hawks won the meet, 101-85. –REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN


BEACON FALLS — If there was any question as to how the Woodland girls swim team would respond to adversity it was answered loud and clear on Tuesday with a convincing 101-85 win over Oxford.

The Hawks (2-1), who were coming off their first loss of the season to two-time defending NVL champion Sacred Heart, set the pace early on against a Wolverines team that lost by only two points to Sacred Heart. The Hawks took first and third in the 200 medley relay to jump out to a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Sarah Bryden led the way for Woodland with a first-place finish in the 100 backstroke and a second-place finish in the 50 freestyle. She also swam the first leg of the 200 medley relay team, which took first, and the anchor leg of the 400 freestyle relay.

“We knew coming into the year what this team is capable of,” Bryden, a senior captain, said. “We are quite happy at how we have come out strong to start the season.”

Bryden said the team was confident heading into the Oxford meet.

“We had some concerns going up against Oxford,” she said. “They are a very good team but we had confidence that if we all did our best we could come together and be successful against them.”

The only other individual first-place winner for the Hawks was sophomore Kyla Drewry in the 100 butterfly. She also finished third in the 100 backstroke and was part of the first-place 200 medley relay squad.

It was sheer numbers and depth that carried Woodland to victory. The Hawks piled up second through fifth places scoring points in every event, allowing them to pull away from the Wolverines.

While Oxford captured first place in eight events, the Hawks continually picked up second- and third-place finishes to outscore the Wolverines. Junior Tatianna Lynn swam to second in the 200 and 500 freestyle races with junior Veronica Dergachev taking third in both events.

Woodland also scored a bundle of points in the diving competition. Lisa Thrasher scored a season-best 191.55 for second place, Lauren Lombardo finished third with 181.55 and Lexie Byczko took fifth.

Senior Morgan Reichard took second in the 100 breaststroke and third in the 200 IM. Sophomore Taylor Amore finished third in the 100 butterfly and fourth in the 200 IM.

Junior Jordan Williams had a pair of fourth-place finishes in the 100 freestyle and the 100 backstroke. Sophomore Marissa Johnson added a pair of fifth-place finishes in the 100 and 200 freestyle races.

Woodland's Sarah Bryden wins the 100 backstroke Tuesday against Oxford with a time of 1:10.15. -REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN
Woodland’s Sarah Bryden wins the 100 backstroke Tuesday against Oxford with a time of 1:10.15. -REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

“Since day one these girls have been stepping up,” Woodland head coach Mike Magas said. “More than 50 percent of our girls did lifetime best times today. We didn’t break any records, but you could see the effort that they bring day in and day out.”

It was that kind of effort that carried them to victory over Oxford. Sophomore Brooke Pope epitomized that effort, earning second-place finishes in the 200 IM and the 100 freestyle, along with swimming on two first-place relay squads.

“Our seniors have been stepping up to the challenges of the season,” Magas said. “Especially our three captains: Chloe Ariola, Sarah Bryden and Erin Mascoli. They understand how important it is to get production from every event and it’s going to take the entire team to be successful.”

Mascoli said the team goes into every meet with a mentality to win.

“Our goal is to try our best and leave it all in the pool, and it’s been like that since our freshman year,” said Mascoli, who swam on the second-place 200 freestyle relay squad and the third-place 200 medley relay team. “Now with this being our senior year we are looking for big things down the road, especially at the NVLs and the states.”

With Watertown and Naugatuck next up on the schedule, Magas knows the Hawks can’t afford to take a night off.

“This Friday we have Watertown and next week we face Naugatuck, so there really are no off nights in the NVL,” Magas said. “But I’m thrilled at how some of these young swimmers have come back and have improved so much since last season.”