Woodland indoor squad turns strong efforts into pair of runner-up finishes


Woodland indoor track coach Jeff Lownds couldn’t be too disappointed with the way things finished at the Naugatuck Valley League indoor track and field championships on Jan. 27 at New Haven’s Floyd Little Athletic Center.
The Hawks finished as runner-up in both the boys and girls competitions, well short of Naugatuck’s winning totals but with a load of gold medals.
“We were very pleased with our performances,” Lownds said. “We really had a very good night. Give credit to Naugatuck. They have a very good team and they performed well.”
The highlights included a double-gold performance by Dani Celotto, who won the 1,600 and 3,200 meters, and Alex Farr, whose time of 1:25.33 in the 600 set both meet and school records.
Woodland also nabbed a one-two finish in girls shot put with Sarah Cooley (36 feet, 1 inch) and Emma Swanson, while Brian Babo took first in boys shot put (44-5.5). Kian Sirowich won the boys pole vault (11-6) and Isabella Bianchini tied her own school record to win the girls pole vault (9-6).
The boys sprint medley relay team of Ervin Owusu, Jaylen Goodall, Sam Ambrocio, and Farr also won their race in 3:53.70, six seconds faster than runner-up Naugatuck.
Other top-three individual finishers included Faye Carnemolla (second in the 1,000), Gabe Diamante (second in the 3,200), Laci Davis (second in the long jump), Ambrocio (third in the 1,000), and Owusu (third in the long jump).
Other top-three relay performances included the boys 4×400 (second with Jaylen Goodall, Thomas Lewis, Ambrocio, and Farr), the girls 4×800 (second with Olivia Schwenger, Kate Foley, Olivia McDonald, and Leah Zainc), the girls sprint medley (second with Bianchini, Davis, Kyla O’Connor, and Carnemolla), and the girls 4×400 (third with O’Connor, Carnemolla, Schwenger, and Celotto).
“Our kids work very hard in practice, and it pays off,” Lownds said.
Celotto and Zainc stood out to Lownds for the amount of track time they put in at the championship meet.
“Leah Zainc and Dani put in a lot of mileage that night,” Lownds said. “Dani ran the 1,600, 3,200 and anchored the 4×400, and Leah ran the 4×800, 1,600 and 3,200, and she scored in all three. Those girls showed up.”
He also cited the efforts of O’Connor and Schwenger for being flexible enough to run the 4×400 relay despite barely running that event during the regular season.
“[They are] two girls who have given us everything all year,” Lownds said.
About 15 Woodland athletes will compete at the Class S championships today in New Haven.