NEW BRITAIN — Bloomfield usually stands in the way of Woodland at the Class M state track meet. Such was the case again last Wednesday at Willowbrook Park in New Britain.
The Hawks boys finished second at the Class M championships for the second year in a row, only topped by juggernaut Bloomfield, which ended up winning the State Open title on Monday.
The Woodland boys scored 53 points to Bloomfield’s 139.33. Woodland’s girls placed 14th with 16 points and were the highest finishing Naugatuck Valley League team at the meet, which Tolland won.
Woodland boys coach Tim Shea acknowledged that the second-place finish was probably the best for which any team aside from Bloomfield could have hoped.
“Our goal is to finish top three, and we were fortunate enough to be No. 2,” Shea told the Republican-American. “When you run against Bloomfield, that’s kind of what you’re shooting for. They are a great challenge and the kids were up for it. We scored in just about every event we were in, and we reached a lot of the expectations we were shooting for.”
Nick LaPerriere won the 400 meters in 49.91 seconds, which qualified him for the State Open. LaPerriere placed 15th in that race.
“Everyone was running fast times,” LaPerriere told the Rep-Am about his Class M race. “The top seeds were close to each other. I just tried to stay with the guys and beat them. I had a lot of energy for the last 100, and I knew I could stay with these kids.”
LaPerriere also helped the Hawks’ 4-by-100 relay to win the race and upset Bloomfield. LaPerriere, Rahmi Rountree, Hunter Watford and Mike Lang finished in 43.06 seconds, which was more than sixth-tenths faster than their seed and more than a half-second faster than Bloomfield. All four athletes earned all-state honors for their gold medals.
The 4-by-100 team also earned two points at the State Open with a seventh-place finish in 43.43 seconds. Windsor set a meet record in that race by finishing in 41.62 seconds.
Lang was the other individual star at state competition. Stuck behind triple State Open champion Demario Gray of Bloomfield, Lang was second in the Class M long jump and third in the triple jump. He followed with a second-place showing in the State Open long jump and a fifth-place finish in the triple jump.
Lang, naturally, wasn’t happy with his jumps, which have yet to reach an incredible goal of 23 feet.
“It’s going to take a 23-foot jump (to make him happy),” Lang said. “I’ll be satisfied for a few minutes but then I’ll want to jump 24 feet.”
Lang’s jumps at the State Open qualified him for this weekend’s New England meet at Willowbrook.
“I placed well but I didn’t jump well,” Lang said. “I just wasn’t feeling 100 percent today so I didn’t jump 100 percent. Hopefully I can redeem myself a little bit (at New Englands).”
Also scoring points for the Woodland boys in Class M were Rountree (sixth in the 100 and 200), Jack Pinho (sixth in the 1,600), Brett Fowler (eighth in the 110 hurdles), the 4-by-800 relay team of Ian Chamenko, Nick Hebert, Pinho and Andy Hale (sixth), and Levi Fancher (third in the javelin).
On the girls side, Tayler Boncal was fifth in the 400 at the Class M meet and competed at the State Open. Sydney Corneau earned a point in Class M for an eighth-place finish in the 300 hurdles, and the 4-by-100 relay team of Jazmyn Menzies, Steph Dumond, Ashley Michie and Boncal were third in Class M with a time of 51.13 seconds. They also competed at the State Open. Jiye Park was sixth in the Class M triple jump.