Nothing can quite compare to last year’s NVL championship Indoor Track meet. Woodland and Naugatuck went toe-to-toe in a wild race to the finish line.
The Woodland boys under head coach, Tim Shea, won the school’s first league title, edging out Naugatuck. The girls team under head coach Jeff Lownds finished second behind Naugatuck.
Coming into this season the Hawks remain confident that they can remain competitive in spite of losing several key athletes due to graduation.
The Woodland boys will need to rebuild the 4 x 400, 4 x 200 and the 1600 sprint relay squads that finished first in the NVL championship meet. The Hawks will also miss 300 meter champion Brandon Fowler , Tyler Murphy the 1,000 meter champion and Class S long jump state champion Dan Park.
The Lady Hawks only won two events at the NVL championship meet, but finished in the top three in nine events. That depth has been compromised due to the graduation losses of two top athletes Brittany Albright and Brittany Battis.
The Woodland girls will also need to find replacements for NVL champion in the 55 hurdles Alyssa Marti, along with a solid relay core of Libby Patrick, Kate Trauger, Sarah Melville and Kelsey Dumond.
“There is no doubt about it that we lost a real good group of seniors from last year,” said Shea. “They were able to accomplish a lot for the team and we just have to go out there and reload…We probably got hurt the most in the sprints and the jumps. Park was a two-time state champion and Fowler was a champion. Savvidou and Murphy were also very productive…Hopefully the returning athletes will fill the gaps and we will be a competitive team.”
Woodland is not coming into this season empty-handed. They return a solid core of athletes that possess a variety of skills.
The Hawks will have a solid relay group led by three-quarters of the 4 x 800 team in senior Jonathan Fitzpatrick and juniors Marc Beaulieu and Adam Baz. Senior Jacob Pinho ran the 4 x 200 and the 1600 sprint medley last season.
Woodland also has a little experience coming back in the sprints and the distance. Seniors Craig Genz in the 300 meters and Kyle Cranney in the 1600 will also be an asset to the 4 x 200 and the 4 x 400 relay squads. Junior Jonathan Alarcon will sprint in the 55 meters.
“The team goal is to finish in the top three in the league,” Shea said.