Round of Applause
Woodland’s gold medalists did their work this week and came away with plenty of hardware in a variety of events. Eleven girls and 10 boys earned All-NVL status at Tuesday’s league track championships while Liz Martin and Hope Gavigan won the girls tennis program’s first-ever gold medals Tuesday by winning the league doubles tournament. Boys tennis finals were set for Wednesday, with two defending champions heading back to Wolcott for a chance at back-to-back gold medals. The week was yet another peak in what has been an historic year for the Woodland athletics program, which we’ll be sure to recap in the coming weeks.
Kevin Durant deserves some big-time credit for his actions off the court this week with his season now in the rear view. After the horrifying tornado in Moore, Okla., earlier this week, Durant quietly decided to donate $1 million to the recovery effort. He did it with no fanfare; a representative from his foundation delivered a check without alerting anyone, and the Red Cross of Oklahoma was the first to let everyone know with a tweet. It’s refreshing to see someone with the means to do good actually do it without trying to make a publicity stunt of it — there’s no “I’ll give $1,000 for every retweet I get!” — and give generously. Durant really seems like one of the good guys in sports and this only helps us confirm that belief.
The Indy 500 is this Sunday and it’s actually one of the most enjoyable events of the sports year to watch, if you do it right. For years, we’ve hooked up a TV out on the back deck and done some grilling outside with the race going on beside us, which is just a terrific day. The only thing that’s been wrong with Indy over the last few years is that we haven’t had an American winner since 2006 (Sam Hornish, Jr.), and y’all should know by now that I form an awful lot of my rooting interests based on the Stars and Stripes. With that said, I’m all in on Marco Andretti again this year. Feel free to join.
Chorus of Boos
The French Open is a waste of a good time for a tennis tournament, and I hear it starts Sunday. I still am not really sure why people think it’s a good idea to play tennis on clay, but they do it a lot over in Paris and it results in me not watching (it may also have a little something to do with people speaking French, as opposed to the other three Grand Slam tournaments being English-centric). The review system on clay courts is absolutely hilarious. One player gets upset, calls over the umpire, the umpire springs from his/her tall chair, trots over to the spot in question, somehow knows definitively which barely visible skid was caused by that one shot and then somehow determines whether it did or did not hit the line. Meanwhile, all other tournaments worth their salt have the fancy HawkEye system installed, which knows exactly which shot landed where. Way to go, France.
Naugatuck suffered a quarterfinal loss at the hands of Wolcott in Monday’s NVL tournament opener. The Eagles dispatched the Greyhounds, 26-2, and at one point in the game led 18-0. Chris Sheedy’s two-run home run was the only offensive highlight for Naugatuck (9-11). The ‘Hounds fell to Manchester, 1-0, on Wednesday in their regular-season finale. They open up state tournament play Tuesday on the road.
Naugatuck improved to 4-10 on the season with a 176-230 victory over Kennedy on Tuesday at the par-36 Western Hills. Matt Jackson led the Greyhounds with a 42, Nick Tribanas posted a 43, Brendan Waldron carded a 45 and Tyler Sounanthanum shot a 46. The win came a day after the ‘Hounds lost to St. Paul, 164-174, at the par-36 Hop Brook. Jackson again led Naugy with a 41, Waldron and Tribanas both shot 43s and Sounanthanum posted a 45. The Greyhounds will compete in the NVL championships at Watertown Country Club next Thursday.
Word from the Woods
The Woodland baseball team missed out on the Naugatuck Valley League tournament but qualified for the Class M state tournament with wins in the final two games of the regular season. In the berth-clinching victory last Thursday against Crosby, Tanner Kingsley tossed a one-hitter with eight strikeouts on short rest to lead the Hawks to a 10-1 win. Anthony Ross smashed a three-run homer on senior day while Mike Kennedy added two singles and two RBI. Jared Grillo also had a double and two RBI. Woodland (8-12) will compete in the qualifying round Saturday against an opponent to be determined.
Woodland improved to 3-10 on the season with a 168-257 victory over Crosby on Tuesday at the par-36 East Mountain. Mike Erickson was the medalist with a 36 while Ryan Warner carded a 41. Owen Harris posted a 45 and Andy O’Dell shot a 46. The win came a day after the Hawks lost to Sacred Heart, 183-191, at East Mountain. Erickson won a share of the day’s medal with a 44, Warner posted a 48, Harris carded a 49 and O’Dell shot a 50. Woodland will compete in the NVL championships at Watertown Country Club next Thursday.