Woodland runners cap season at states

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MANCHESTER — The Woodland cross country teams put up solid efforts at the state championships Saturday at Wickham Park.

The boys team finished fifth in Class SS, while the girls took 10th overall at the Class M meet.

“We had a good day on Saturday,” Woodland head coach Jeff Lownds said. “I was very pleased with our season.”

Both teams went 12-2 in the NVL during the regular season before finishing third at the NVL championships.

On the boys side, three runners placed in the top 25. Matt Luxeder (18:07) took 20th, Kyle Crowell (18:11) was 23rd and Vincent Costanzo (18:16) was 24th at the states.

Greg Aldrich (39th), Wesley Stein (51st), Matt Giaquino (59th) and Colin Kennelly (102nd) rounded out the top six for the Hawks, who finished with 157 points. Haddam-Killingworth won the meet with the lowest score of 39 points — including the first, third and seventh-place runners.

The girls were paced by Emma Slavin, who took 33rd overall in a time of 22:02. Emilie Noreika (22:56) was 49th and Jillian Brotherton (23:28) took 60th. Calisa Costanzo (70th), Jessica Fox (91st), Meredith Dyckman (99th) and Sydney Patterson (106th) also placed.

Lownds credited the captains for leading their respective squads this season. Giaquinto and Kennelly were the boys’ leaders, while Dyckman and Noreika, a junior, were the captains for the girls.

“The teams’ attitude, effort and willingness to work hard was brought out by our captains,” said Lownds, who also noted assistant coach Chris Misuraca and his motivating skills.

This year’s finish also added to the impressive history of the Woodland program since it started in 2001. The boys and girls teams have combined for 319 all-time wins.

Lownds added the two teams were great to work with all season.

“It was a pleasure to coach these kids,” Lownds said.