BEACON FALLS — The Woodland boys and girls track teams are looking to defend last year’s Naugatuck Valley League Brass Division titles.
The boys team finished as NVL runners-up to Naugatuck after compiling a 13-1 record and winning the division title for the third year in a row.
The girls went 14-1 to win the Brass last year and then finished third at the NVL championships.
The boys and girls teams have a lot to look forward to after an encouraging showing at this year’s NVL indoor track championships. The boys nailed down three first-place finishes in the relays with the 4-by-200, 4-by-400 and sprint relay squads racing to victory as Woodland finished third as a team.
The girls team finished fifth at the indoor meet, powered by a second-place finish in the 4-by-200 relay. Girls coach Jeff Lownds hopes the new and the old can mix this spring.
“We have several newcomers to our program and they are all working hard every day trying to improve,” said Lownds, entering his 10th season with a career 90-34 mark. “Our upperclassmen show talent and leadership as we hope to excel in both the NVL and the states this season.”
The girls are led by senior captain Kelsey Deegan (javelin, sprints) and junior Ashley Riley, last year’s NVL Outstanding Jumper.
Woodland has plenty of experience coming back with seniors Marissa Mills (hurdles, jumps), Crystal Steinfeld (mid/long distance), Melissa Kiley (mid/long distance), Arica Watford (sprints, jumps), Amanda Swingle (jumps) and Olivia Poryanda (throws).
The Hawks will look for strong contributions from sophomores Jiye Park, Steph Dumond, Tayler Boncal and Sydney Corneau in the sprints with sophomore Miranda Moffat lending some depth to the mid/long distance runners.
Woodland will also have some talented freshmen trying to fill the void from last year’s graduating class. Leading the freshmen mid/long distance runners will be Mary Sardinskas, Audra Blewitt, Ashley Michie, Jackie Magner and Hannah Deegan.
The Woodland boys are just as stacked as they look to a four-peat in the Brass Division. The Hawks are led by a stable of seniors including Kyle Cranney (distance), Craig Genz (sprints), Ian Bures (hurdles), Jon Fitzpatrick (jumps) and Hugh Chamenko and Tyler Chabot (throws).
“We graduated 12 seniors including four Division I athletes,” said boys coach Tim Shea, entering his eighth year at the helm with a 72-18 career record. “That represented a majority of our points but we do have some motivated athletes back who are looking to maintain the level of success that we’ve grown accustomed to.”
Woodland will be stocked with some experienced depth led by junior mid/distance runners Adam Baz, Eric Dietz, Marc Beaulieu, Ron Jennings and Matt Moutinho along with sprinter Ryan Greenwood.
The Hawks have depth in the field events as well with junior throwers Scott Lang, Matt Zaccagnini and Dave Alves along with pole vaulters Mitch White and Mike Torselli.
Sophomore sprinters Nick LaPerriere and Rahmi Rountree join sophomore distance runners Ian Chamenko, Andy Hale, Nick Hebert and Joe Reynolds to add to the depth.
Sophomore throwers Eric Collodel, Cooper Henion and Dave Terni team up with sophomore hurdler Brett Fowler at the skill positions.
The Hawks will also have three freshmen who should make solid contributions in Mike Lang, Jack Pinho and Brian Zaccagnini.
Shea said it could be a challenge to match previous success, but he’s optimistic that the Hawks can be “a reload instead of a rebuilding project.”
“The NVL is a very competitive league,” added Shea. “The league is as good as it has been top to bottom and if you don’t come prepared for every meet you can get beat. If we can stay healthy and have a little bit of luck it will be interesting to see how the season plays out.”
The boys were set to start the season Wednesday against Seymour, Derby, and Sacred Heart while the girls were scheduled to host the same meet Thursday.