MANCHESTER — The Woodland boys and girls cross country teams put up solid efforts in last Saturday’s Class M and Class SS championship meets at Wickham Park in Manchester.
The boys, who finished sixth at the Naugatuck Valley League meet, placed 14th in Class M while the girls, who were fourth in the NVL, finished 11th in Class SS.
Weston won the Class M boys title with 68 points while the Hawks scored 386.
Ian Chamenko led Woodland with a 42nd-place finish among the field of 153 runners, posting a time of 18 minutes, 32 seconds.
“Ian has 10 wins on the season and has been a team leader all season,” Woodland coach Jeff Lownds said.
Joe Reynolds (59th, 18:58), Kyle Beynor (83rd, 19:32) and Dave Terni (100th, 20:21) joined Chamenko inside the top 100.
“Four of our top five runners are seniors,” Lownds said. “Ian, Joe, Kyle and Dave have provided good leadership qualities for the younger boys. They have all bought into the idea that this is more of a program than a team. And this is the hardest-working group of boys I’ve ever coached.”
Dean Conway finished 102nd in 20:22 while Jeff Giusto placed 117th in 21:02 and Matt Butterworth came in at 21:27 for 122nd place.
“I’m really satisfied at how well the young guys like Matt and Jeff improved with every race this season,” Lownds said. “We have a lot to look forward to for a few years to come at Woodland.”
On the girls side, Griswold won the Class SS title with 90 points while the Hawks earned 213.
Mary Sardinskas, the third-place finisher at the NVL meet, placed 17th of 143 runners with a time of 21:21.
“Mary had 10 wins this season and was the team leader,” Lownds said.
Stephanie Kiley (43rd, 22:57), Clara Drozdowski (44th, 23:01) and Kailyn Accetura (48th, 23:10) all finished inside the top 50 while Kelsey Mitchell (61st, 23:43), Miranda Moffat (94th, 25:51) and Angeline Rosato (104th, 27:05) rounded out the team.
“We had a very young girls team with Miranda Moffat being the only senior,” Lownds said. “Miranda had three very good seasons for us. But we did real well in a very tough division. Going up against the best will certainly provide the incentive to pick up the pace and do your best.”
Lownds, the only coach Woodland has ever known, fondly looked back upon another season.
“I’m a very lucky guy to be coaching the kind of kids we have at Woodland,” he said. “We have a very bright future for the Hawks cross country program for the next few years. Mary made All-NVL, and Ian and Clara were both All-Brass Division. The boys were 12-4 and the girls were 12-3, so all in all we had a very successful season.”