BEACON FALLS — The Woodland girls and boys cross country teams took another step forward Tuesday in Torrington, as both squads swept the meet to improve to 6-0 on the season.
The girls earned wins over Torrington (25-36) Wolcott (17-46) and Crosby (15-45). The boys followed suit, beating Torrington, 20-47, Wolcott, 16-45, and Crosby, 17-44.
“It was a good day, but we are nowhere near where we need to be. … We are about a third of the way through the season and we are where we should be at this time, but not where we need to be as far as competing for a league title,” Lownds said.
Lownds and assistant coach Chris Misuraca have been putting the team through the paces and the Hawks are improving their times every day out on the course.
Torrington’s Arian Santos and Gabrielle Vega finished first and second place for the girls. Then the sheer numbers of Woodland took over. The Hawks took seven of the top 10 spots to win the meet. The top five Woodland finishers were separated by only 1:50.
Kelsey Mitchell led the way for Woodland, finishing third in 20:06; just 1 second behind second place. Clara Drozdowski placed fourth and Marina Bojka was fifth.
Woodland finished off the competition with Kailyn Accetura (seventh), Bianca Poehailos (eighth), Emilie Noreika (ninth) and Meredith Dyckman (tenth) in the top 10.
“Our girls finished with decent times, but we are still a work in progress,” Lownds said. “There’s room for improvement. That will come with practice and we are excited about the new course we have at Woodland. No more running in the driveway or at Matthies Park.”
The Woodland boys came out and made a statement Tuesday. The boys took the top four spots without the services of senior co-captain Jeff Giusto, who is battling an injury.
Senior co-captain Brian Sardinskas set a blistering pace, finishing the 3.1 mile course at Torrington in 17:13 to win the race by 44 seconds.
Matt Luxeder took second in a time of 17:57 with Matt Giaquinto third at 17:58, and Kyle Crowell placed fourth. Paul Jones (ninth) made it five runners for Woodland in the top 10.
Collin Blewitt placed 11th and Patrick Vogel was 12th, giving Woodland a solid showing of seven runners in the top 20.
“The boys are dedicating themselves to improve a little bit each day,” Lownds said. “We are slowly working Jeff back into it and hopefully he will be ready in a week or two. He needs to run in two NVL meets in order to be eligible for the NVL’s and that has been our focus. He still is attending practice showing his senior leadership and the boys team is working hard. From first to 12th place only 2 minutes separated our runners. That shows you how competitive they are.”
Woodland will be severely tested Tuesday in Watertown when they take on the Indians and Oxford in a crucial NVL tri-meet.
“We have some tough meets coming up,” Lownds said. “We have Watertown and Oxford next week and that will tell us a lot at where we stand. The following week we have Derby and Holy Cross. So, we need to continue to improve in order to be competitive.”