‘Hounds getting warmed up

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NAUGATUCK — The best may be yet to come for the Naugatuck indoor track program.

The ‘Hounds have only participated in two meets thus far, due to a later start to the season and weather-related cancellations. Typically, the Greyhounds would have been in at least five meets, and they are less than two weeks away from the Naugatuck Valley League championship meet Jan. 28 in New Haven.

Even practices have been limited due to the weather and the ongoing construction at Naugatuck High.

“Usually we’ve had 30 training days by this point,” Naugy coach Ralph Roper said. “We’ve been reduced to about 20 right now.”

The delays have not stopped several athletes from qualifying for the Class L state meet.

The boys program already has several state qualifiers, including the 4-by-800 and 4-by-200-meter relay events. However, there are still many unknowns because the team has many first-year athletes.

“The newness of the athletes is a factor,” Roper said. “We’re not sure what we have yet because they haven’t tried an event.”

There are some knowns, though.

Dan Schumacher has qualified for states in the 3,200, the mile and the 1,000. Throwers Will Paul, James San Angelo and Jack Reardon have all reached around 40 feet in the shot put — with potential to get better.

“The throwers have stepped up their game and this could be one of the best seasons we’ve had in years,” Roper said.

In addition, Mark Zamani has shown promise in several running events, including the 800, 1,000 and 4-by-400 relay.

On the girls side, Jasmine Grey finished third in the high jump at the SCC Coaches Invitational and also impressed in the 55-meter dash.

“You talk about an impact player,” Roper said. “Jasmine has been doing some great things in multiple events.”

Harmony Sturdivant has already qualified for the states in the long jump, while Heyi Cheng has qualified in the 300 and Carla Soares has just missed in the 55 hurdles and 300. Roper expects Soares and many of her teammates to eventually qualify, including Suzana Amaral.

The next meet for the Greyhounds will be Friday at the NVL developmental meet at Wesleyan University in Middletown, a meet that figures to be a key indicator of success at the upcoming league championship meet. Naugatuck will find out a little more about what it has, and see more positive results.

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