BEACON FALLS — The Naugatuck Valley League track championship meet usually lacks in drama. Sure, gold medals are at stake but the team titles often have been sewn up weeks prior.
That might not be the case this spring after Tuesday’s results. The Woodland girls made a furious comeback on Watertown, racking up 13 points in the final two events to salvage a 75-75 tie. If both teams win their remaining regular-season meets, the NVL championship meet May 21 will also be for the league title.
“We were getting buried and we kept coming back,” Woodland girls coach Jeff Lownds said. “We were just able to score enough to not get beat. I don’t think anybody’s ever happy with a tie, but I’d rather tie than lose.”
The Woodland girls faced a big deficit entering the final two events, the 3,200 meters and the 4-by-400-meter relay. Mary Sardinskas and Clara Drozdowski took the top two spots in the 3,200 to earn eight points and get the Hawks within striking distance for the last relay.
In that race, leadoff Tayler Boncal earned a solid lead, which Sydney Corneau and Ashley Michie kept for anchor Jazmyn Menzies. Menzies held off the Indians at the finish line for the win in 4 minutes, 23 seconds, and the overall tie.
“Our girls were resilient today,” Lownds said. “They never quit. The 4-by-4 was the perfect example of that. Had Jazmyn not run 100 percent that might not have happened.”
The Hawks also knocked off Derby (143-6) in the meet to improve to 6-0-1 in the NVL, the same as Watertown. Both teams have two NVL meets remaining before the championships.
Michie won four events, helping the 4-by-400 and 4-by-100 (with Menzies, Steph Dumond and Boncal) teams while taking the 100 (13.5 seconds) and 200 (28.7) by herself. Boncal won the 400 (1:03.3), Corneau took the long jump (14 feet, 11 inches), Jiye Park earned the triple jump (33 feet), Megan Lynch won the pole vault (7-6) and Nikki Tyrrell took the discus (81-9).
The Woodland boys cruised past Watertown (107.5-42.5) and Derby (112-38). The Hawks swept the relays and won nine individual events on the day, despite adverse conditions.
“The boys, time- and distance-wise, had an OK day,” Woodland boys coach Tim Shea said. “With the headwind, nobody ran particularly well. But Watertown and Derby had to deal with the same wind we did and we were good enough to win.”
Three athletes won two individual events: Brett Fowler in the 110 hurdles (16.3 seconds) and the 300 hurdles (45.1), Nick LaPerriere in the 200 (23.2) and 400 (52.1) and Mike Lang in the high jump (5-6) and triple jump (40-1).
Rahmi Rountree won the 100 (11.5 seconds), Levi Fancher took the javelin (140-11) and Dave LaChance earned the discus (119-10).
Ian Chamenko, Nick Hebert, Jack Pinho, Andy Hale, Jason Rodrigues, Hunter Watford, Daemion Powell, Rountree, Fowler and LaPerriere all contributed to relay victories.
Woodland can clinch the league title by winning its last two regular-season meets, in which the Hawks will be favored. Both teams will be back in action Tuesday against Wilby, Kennedy and St. Paul.
LaPerriere and Boncal also hosted the first NVL novice meet last Friday for their combined senior project. Six schools participated, and Woodland’s winners included Jimmy Jensen, Jeff Giusto, Zach Noreika, Dean Conway, Ava Capuano, Kailyn Accetura, Julia Smith, Clara Drozdowski, Jess Rodrigues, Val Vinca, Sarah Bryden and Abbey Rosato.
“We’d always talked about doing it and I think it really went well,” Lownds said. “It gave freshmen and sophomores, who on team like ours won’t letter very often, a meet to show that we care about them.”