By Ken Morse, Citizen’s News
BEACON FALLS — The Woodland boys and girls cross country teams enjoyed a very successful start to the season, but head coach Jeff Lownds knows there’s still much work to do.
The boys and girls both started the season 4-0 after sweeping a quad meet Sept. 21 at Torrington.
The boys beat St. Paul, 18-41, Torrington, 16-47, and Kennedy, 15-45. The girls ran past St. Paul, 20-39, Torrington, 15-45, and Kennedy, 15-45.
It takes a lot of pressure off the pack when the leader is out in front of the field, and the Hawks have it a little easier than most teams in the NVL. Woodland is led by a pair of All-NVL and All-State runners in Colin Slavin and Chloe Poulos.
Slavin posted a blistering pace of 16 minutes, 25 seconds to win last week’s meet.
What also helps the boys is they finish in a pack at the finish line.
Nick LaChappelle finished second (17:01), Chase Young was third (17:28) and Sam Ambrochio was fourth (17:38), before St. Paul’s Matthew Doherty broke the string of Hawks and placed fifth (17:39).
Woodland finished the race with two more runners in the top ten: Eric Meade (ninth, 18:19) and Kayo Niebrzdowski (tenth, 18:39).
“That’s a lot of production coming across the finish line,” Lownds said. “But it all starts with Colin. The key is to get the rest of the team to finish in the top ten scoring spots. We are working on that, so we are a work in progress.”
Poulos won the girls meet in 19:17, almost three minutes ahead of the rest of the field.
Kim Poulos (second, 22:04), Faye Carnemolla (fourth, 22:39), Lily Miko (fifth, 22:46), Kate Foley (eighth, 23:54), Kayla Drmic (ninth, 23:57) and Payton Kane (tenth, 24:51) gave the Hawks seven runners in the top ten.
“The key is we are showing improvement at each of our competitions,” Lownds said. “And that is the goal to get better each time out, and we are seeing that. It takes the pressure off everyone to have Colin and Chloe leading the way.”
The Hawks are set to face a stiff test Sept. 28 in a quad meet against Holy Cross, Wilby and Naugatuck at Holy Cross.
“We will certainly have our work cut out for us,” Lownds said. “Holy Cross is always a strong team and Naugatuck is undefeated. So we will need to give it our best that’s for sure.”