Staying on track

Naugy girls finish 2nd at NVLs, boys fall off the pace

Naugatuck’s Faith Okifo finishes ahead of Woodland’s Ashley Michie to win the 100 meters during the NVL championship on May 28 at Naugatuck. –LUKE MARSHALL

Naugatuck’s Faith Okifo finishes ahead of Woodland’s Ashley Michie to win the 100 meters during the NVL championship on May 28 at Naugatuck. –LUKE MARSHALL

NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck girls track team left its mark at the Naugatuck Valley League championship meet May 28 in the borough with a second-place finish, while the boys team fell to the middle of the pack and finished tied for fifth.

The upward trend continued for the Naugy girls as they finished 14th at the Class L state championship meet June 2 in Middletown. Their male counterparts failed to score.

The Naugy girls’ 99 points at the NVL meet were more than every team except champion Woodland. Naugatuck’s boys put up 54 points, tied with Wolcott for fifth and behind champion Woodland.

“This has been a long, difficult season marred by numerous injuries,” Naugatuck head coach Ralph Roper said. “We had a lot of guys needing to fill in for various events and it’s unfortunate, but sometimes things go from bad to worse. I really thought we had the athletes to make a move early in the season but injuries can change a lot of expectations.”

The Naugatuck girls captured their only first-place finish at the NVL championship meet with the 4×100 relay foursome of Heyi Cheng, Michaela Rossamando, Carla Soares and Faith Okifo racing to victory in a time of 51.94 seconds.

The Greyhounds picked up five second-place finishes with Harmony Sturdivant in the long jump (16 feet, 4 inches), Rossamando in the in the 100 meters (13.34 seconds), Cheng in the 400 (1:03.30), Soares in the 300 hurdles (49.28 seconds) and the 4×400 relay team of Cheng, Jasmine Grey, Sturdivant and Jendaya Bell (4:22.86).

Four third-place showings were enough for Naugatuck to edge out Seymour for the second spot at NVLs with Rossamando in the 200 (27.77 seconds), Abreana McKoy in the high jump (4-10), Okifo in the 100 (13.40 seconds) and Christina Batista in the javelin (102 feet).

The girls also had solid showings from Madison Beasley, who was sixth in both the 1,600 (6:05.95) and the 3,200 (13:03.43). Elizabeth Trumbley and Katarina Gullotta finished tied for sixth in the pole vault with Grey finishing fifth in the high jump and McKoy taking fifth in the shot put.

“It’s great to see kids put in all the hard work and at the end of the day they achieve success. That’s what it’s all about, seeing that look on their face,” Roper said. “We have a lot of young talent on the girls team, and we are hoping to see the middle school track program start to bear some fruit.”

Batista continued her success at the Class L meet, finishing as the state champion in the discus with a winning throw of 97-7.

“Christina was really nervous beforehand but she got herself together,” Roper said. “Winning the state championship in the discus couldn’t happen to a better person.”

Simsbury was the Class L team champion with 115 points, while the Greyhounds scored 21 team points to finish 14th.

A pair of Naugy sophomores got the attention of the field in the high jump as McKoy finished fourth (5 feet) and Grey took fifth (4-10).

The Naugatuck boys did have a few noteworthy finishes at the NVL championship. Dan Schumacher raced to the only Naugatuck victory of the meet, finishing the 3,200 as the only runner to break the 10-minute mark at 9:54.76.

Brian Reilly was the Greyhounds’ only second-place finisher, putting up a game effort of 44.01 seconds in the 300 hurdles.

The ‘Hounds received a couple of third-place showings from Graden Beasley in the 1,600 (4:43.16) and the 4×800 relay squad of Tyler Hayward, Mark Zamani, Brody Hale and Beasley (8:34.02).

Naugatuck’s Kevin Okifo clears the bar in the pole vault during the NVL championship on May 28 at Naugatuck High. –LUKE MARSHALL

Naugatuck’s Kevin Okifo clears the bar in the pole vault during the NVL championship on May 28 at Naugatuck High. –LUKE MARSHALL

“This was the most meet losses we’ve had in a season since I’ve been coaching,” Roper said. “The injuries played their part but all in all we were competitive in every meet. The new training facility with the new aerobic equipment will help us to get stronger and build our endurance.”

Kevin Johnson finished fourth in the 200 (23.81 seconds) and eighth in the 400. James San Angelo put up a mark of 44-3 ¾ in the shot put, good for fourth place.

The 4×400 relay team of Adam Branco, Johnson, Reilly and Ben Reinhard took sixth place with an effort of 3:42.20. The Greyhounds’ other solid efforts came from James Dorosh (seventh in the pole vault, 9-6), Reinhard (seventh in the javelin, 132-11) and Kevin Stephansen (ninth in the discus, 104-2).

At the Class L state meet, the best the Greyhounds could put together was an 11th-place finish for Schumacher in the 3,200 with a time of 9:51.85 — four seconds better than his NVL winning time.

That showed just how competitive the field was as Johnson finished 14th in the 200 with a time of 23.59 seconds, two-tenths better than his fourth-place showing at the NVL meet. The 4×800 relay team of Beasley, Hayward, Zamani and Reilly finished 14th in 8:45.57.

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