New season, same approach

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Woodland seniors, front row from left, Megan Lynch, Jazmyn Menzies, Stephanie Kiley, Marissa Macek, Clara Atallah, Katie Bolduc, back row from left, Zach Noreika, Jeff Moffat, Michelle Angrand, Abbey Rosato, Emma Poryanda, Courtney Jurzynski, Drew Chura, Christine Angrand and Will Flormann will lead the indoor track team this season. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI
Woodland seniors, front row from left, Megan Lynch, Jazmyn Menzies, Stephanie Kiley, Marissa Macek, Clara Atallah, Katie Bolduc, back row from left, Zach Noreika, Jeff Moffat, Michelle Angrand, Abbey Rosato, Emma Poryanda, Courtney Jurzynski, Drew Chura, Christine Angrand and Will Flormann will lead the indoor track team this season. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

BEACON FALLS — The season is a new one, but it’s the same approach for the Woodland indoor track and field teams.

Both the boys and the girls teams have key pieces returning after a successful season last year. The girls are the three-time defending NVL champs, while the boys team was runners-up last season in the conference.

Head coaches Jeff Lownds (girls team) and Tim Shea (boys team), along with assistants Adam Schultz and Josh Woodin, have been working with the Hawks and getting ready for up-coming meets.

The team already participated in an early season meet at Weslyan University earlier this week.

“We always want to put forth a good effort,” Lownds said.

The girls team won nine of 15 events at the NVLs last year. They welcome back Jazmyn Menzies, who won the gold in the 4-by-400 relay and two individual gold medals in the long jump and high jump.

Lownds also gave credit to Shultz, who as an assistant coach specializes in the hurdles and jumps with Woodland’s athletes.

Menzies is one of many experienced athletes coming back. Both Menzies and Steph Kiley, who took third in the 1,600 at the NVLs, will be starting their fourth season on the team.

Also returning are senior Marisa Macek and juniors Lisa Thrasher and Haleigh Resnick. All three were part of the 4-by-200 relay victory last year at the NVLs.

Two of the league’s top pole vaulters return. Senior Megan Lynch won the event last year, while fellow classmate Clara Atallah took third.

Abby Rosato, who took third in the shot put at the NVLs last season, is another senior returning. She is joined by Emma Poryand (mid distance/pole vault), Courtney Jurzynski (jumps), Katie Bolduc (sprints), Christine Angrand (hurdles and relay) and Michelle Angrand (hurdles and relay).

“The NVL always produces athletes and teams that are good as you’ll find anywhere,” Lownds said.

The junior class also features Clara Drozdowski and Ava Capuano, who both won relay gold last season, and Bianca Poehailos (long distance/relays), Kailyn Accetura (long distance) and Lauren Lombardo, who took second at the NVLs in the high jump.

Also expected to make an impact are sophomores Erin Machado (mid distance), Adrianne Yacavone (sprints and relays), Samantha Plasky (who won relay gold and also completes in pole vault and sprints), Gianna Polletta (sprints and jumps) and freshman Emilie Noreika (long distance).

On the boys side, the Hawks also return several of the NVL’s top performers.

Senior Drew Chura returns after taking the pole vault at last year’s conference meet, while fellow senior Tom Behtin joined junior James Yacavone as returners who were part of a 4-by-200 relay team that placed second at the NVL finals.

“The team is working very hard so far, and hopefully we can stay healthy and be a part of the conversation at the end of the year,” Shea said.

The team also features seniors Dean Conway (mid-distance), Will Flormann (throws), Jeff Moffat (sprints and mid-distance) and Zach Norieka (long distance).

The junior class is represented by Brandon Clifford (jumps), Colton Cronin (sprints and mid-distance), Jeff Giusto (long distance) and Matt Butterworth (jumps and mid-distance).

There are also sophomores and freshmen that will have opportunities to contribute. The sophomore class includes Matt Giaquinto (long distance), Paul Jones (long distance) and Keith Bodnar (throws). Freshmen Ben Nuss (sprints) and Sean Mardin (sprints and jumps) will also be in the mix.

Every athlete has a chance to make a difference.

“Every point counts,” Shea said.