BEACON FALLS — It was the same old story for the Woodland boys’ swimming and diving team last Friday against Kennedy—relay races costing the Hawks a close meet. Once again, the Black and Gold dropped all three relays, leading to a 98.5-86.5 loss to the Eagles in the regular-season finale.
Woodland was within striking distance heading into the 400-yard freestyle relay, the final event of the meet, trailing by only six. The Hawks led throughout the middle two legs of the race, as Will Gerard and Pat O’Dell gave Woodland a solid lead. But Kennedy’s Matt Goodson made up the deficit on the anchor leg to win in one minute, 53.88 seconds, a second and a half faster than Woodland’s Adam Trumbley.
Even with the defeat in the final relay, Woodland head coach Tom Currie was encouraged by his team’s performance and its improvement over recent meets.
“I thought it was great,” Currie said. “We’re getting better. Again, they were just better a little more. They improved a lot. Their last guy swam a good time to beat our guy.”
The Hawks were in striking distance in the 400 free because of a strong team performance in the 100-yard breaststroke the event prior. Trumbley won the event in 1:10.13, and teammate Andrew Cullen touched second in 1:13.14 to give Woodland a needed boost in points.
Woodland also placed second through fourth in the 100-yard backstroke, as Eric Dietz, Matt Costa, and Jimmy Tomkins finished just after Kennedy’s Yariel Cruz, who won the race in 1:07.07.
The Black and Gold won four other events on the day, including a pair of victories by Nick Guerra. Guerra won the 200-yard individual medley in 2:24.22 before posting the best time in the 500-yard freestyle with a mark of 5:39.89.
Trumbley contributed his other victory with the top finish in the 100-yard freestyle in a time of 53.76 seconds, while Tim Korzinski nailed down the diving portion of the meet with 173.90 points.
Despite the five individual wins, it was the relays which doomed the Hawks again. Kennedy’s team of Yariel Cruz, Shawn Goggins, Fabian Ramirez, and Matt Goodson kicked off the meet with a win in the 200-yard medley relay, in 1:53.88, before the combination of Goodson, Goggins, Alex Placo, and Joe Polaco won the 200-yard freestyle relay in 1:38.45.
Polaco also won the 200-yard freestyle, in 1:58.36, and the 100-yard butterfly, in 58.15 seconds, while Placo took the 50-yard freestyle, in 24.86 seconds, and Cruz won the 100-yard backstroke in 1:07.07.
The setback, which ran Woodland to a 2-10-1 record on the season, still didn’t discourage Currie and the Hawks from maintaining their goal for the Naugatuck Valley League championships.
“You bet we are [still aiming for a third-place finish],” Currie said. “That’s what we’re shootin’ for.”
The NVL trials are set for March 2 in advance of the NVL finals slated for March 5. The league diving championship is scheduled for March 3.