Track crown on the line

Woodland's Dean Conway finishes the 4x800 during an NVL track meet in Torrington May 12. –RA ARCHIVE
Woodland’s Dean Conway finishes the 4×800 during an NVL track meet in Torrington May 12. –RA ARCHIVE

BEACON FALLS — The Woodland boys and girls track teams finished with the best regular season records the past few seasons, and then a week later needed to go out and prove the point by winning the NVL championship meet.

This season, the girls simply went out and defeated all opponents to win their third straight NVL title. The boys completed a sterling 15-1 season, but were outdone by an undefeated Derby team that claimed the regular season title.

The Hawks are gearing up again to drive the point home that they rule the roost as they get set to take on all comers at the NVL championship meet at Naugatuck High on Tuesday.

“After all the athletes we lost to graduation, I’m pleased at where our boys team finished the regular season with 15 wins,” Woodland boys head coach Tim Shea said.

Shea added the Derby boys earned the regular season title this year.

“Nick Diluggo is another Naugatuck guy who has done a tremendous job with his Derby team this year. He had a real well-rounded team with three and four kids in each event, and they had stronger throwers than we had. Hats off to them they deserved it.”

The boys come into the NVL championship meet with 14 athletes who have already qualified for the states. The Hawks strong point will be in the relays along with the sprints. Freshman Ben Nuss and Tom Smith have qualified for states in the 100 and 200 along with junior Jeff Webster in the 200. Senior Jeff Moffat in the 400 is the mid-distance threat.

Woodland will rely on the strength of a few multitalented athletes. Senior Tom Bethin runs the 400 as well as competing in the long jump and the triple jump. Junior Brandon Clifford is another triple threat in the 110 hurdles along with the long jump and triple jump.

Senior Pat Hale is a key performer in the 300 hurdles and the pole vault. The Hawks’ bread and butter in the 1,600 and 3,200 is junior Brian Sardinskas. Seniors Drew Chura in the pole vault, Brian Guerrera in the 110 hurdles and Zach Norieka in the 1,600 along with junior Jeff Giusto in the 1,600 will be looked on to gain points for the Hawks.

The Woodland girls team under head coach Jeff Lownds is loaded. The Hawks have qualified for the states in every event but one — the 1,600 — and that obstacle is sure to fall at the NVL championship meet.

The Hawks clinched their third straight NVL outdoor track title May 12 by sweeping a quad meet in Torrington. Adding indoor track and cross country, Woodland has won the last eight NVL championships.

“We’ve now hit the trifecta for the second straight year,” Woodland girls coach Jeff Lownds said.

Woodland's Emma Poryanda clears the bar during the pole vault during an NVL track meet in Torrington May 12.  –RA ARCHIVE
Woodland’s Emma Poryanda clears the bar during the pole vault during an NVL track meet in Torrington May 12. –RA ARCHIVE

The Woodland girls have won the last two cross country titles, the last three outdoor track crowns and the last four indoor track championships.

Woodland is led by four-event performer senior Jazmyn Menzies in the 200, high jump, long jump and triple jump. Senior Abbey Rosato is a triple threat in the throws, having been victorious in the javelin, shot put and discus.

Seniors Christine and Michelle Angrand have the hurdles sewed up in the 100 and 300. The Hawks have another pair of triple threats with senior Courtney Jurzynski in the high jump, long jump and triple jump, and junior Clara Drozdowski in the 400, 800 and 3,200.

The Woodland relay teams have all qualified for the states and have a laundry list of athletes who pull double duty. Senior Marisa Macek, juniors Haleigh Resnick and Lisa Thrasher, sophomore Gina Polletta, and freshman Erika Michie give the Hawks the speed to compete.

The Hawks have a few more weapons to contend with in junior Lauren Lombardo, a double threat in the long jump and triple jump, junior long distance specialist Kelsey Mitchell in the 3200, and senior pole vaulter Emma Poryanda.

“We are going to go into the NVL Championship meet with a lot of confidence and compete to the best of our ability and see where it all ends up,” Shea said. “From a coaching stand point, I like our chances.”

The Republican-American contributed to this article.