WATERTOWN — The Woodland cross country teams went into the NVL championship meet at Veterans Park in Watertown last Wednesday among the teams to beat.
The boys finished the regular season 14-0 — the first boys team in Woodland history to do so — while the girls team went 13-1.
The Hawks faced some stiff competition in the championship race.
The boys finished second with 92 points behind Kennedy, which took first with 80 points. In the girls’ race, Derby won with 49 points followed by Watertown (52) in second and Woodland (75) in third.
“I would have to be a nitwit not to be satisfied with an undefeated 14-0 season for the boys and a 13-1 record for the girls,” Woodland head coach Jeff Lownds said. “It was a good day. We got to bring home a little hardware. It didn’t rain. All is well.”
Senior Matt Luxeder led the boys with a fourth-place finish (16:45.5) and earned All-NVL honors.
“We put up a real good effort today,” Luxeder said. “We had an outstanding season becoming the first boys team to go undefeated, and that says a lot about all the hard work we put into this over the past four years. Coach Lownds has been great. He gives us wisdom and teaches us life experiences which we can put into our running and work ethic.”
Lownds said Luxeder made it a goal of his to get under 17 minutes and he put up a personal best time.
“That is a tribute to him for all the hard work he’s put into this over the years,” Lownds said.
Juniors Greg Aldrich (15th, 17:50) and Kyle Crowell (17th, 17:55) earned All-Iron honors.
Seniors Wes Stein (21st, 18:18), Vincent Costanzo (39th, 19:06) and Tom Bucciferro (43rd, 19:17) along with junior Charlie Swartz (52nd, 19:38) rounded out the seven runners for the Hawks.
The Woodland girls placed five runners in the top 20, led by sophomore Emma Slavin, who raced to a seventh (21:12) to earn All-NVL honors.
“I think as a team we showed up today and did really well,” Slavin said. “We gave the other teams a run for their money. I’m really happy at where I ended up. It has been a goal of mine. I didn’t make all league last season, so I came into this year working towards that goal.”
Freshman Jaden Young (14th, 21:54) and sophomore Jill Brotherton (17th, 22:21) earned All-Iron status.
Seniors Emilie Noreika (18th, 22:27), Jessica Fox (29th, 23:23), freshman Brooke Iannone (19th, 22:35) and sophomore Calisa Costanzo (34th, 23:36) rounded out the runners for the Hawks.
“The meet played out the way I expected it to,” Lownds said. “The Watertown girls edged us out for second place, but that’s no big deal. The boys finished where I thought they would be. Our times and paces were very good. Now we prepare for the states, and we are looking for the boys and girls to finish in the top ten. It’s a pretty lofty position to go for, but I feel it’s a goal we can achieve.”
Woodland will race in the Class M state meet on Saturday at Wickham Park in Manchester.