Greyhounds gaining traction

NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck boys and girls indoor track team came out of the gate firing on all cylinders as several athletes qualified for states in the first meet of the season.

The ‘Hounds participated in the Hillhouse Invitational in December and came away with several qualifying times in a competitive 25-team field at the Floyd Little Athletic Complex in New Haven.

Ariana Alvarado led the girls with qualifying times of 7.61 in the 55 meters and a time of 45.10 in the 300 meters.

Mark Zamani led the boys with a second place finish in the 1,000 meters in 2:39.31 and a fourth place finish in the 3,200 in 10:03.21, both times qualified for the states.

The Greyhounds other individual qualifiers were Kyla Magalhaes in the 300 meters in 45.91 and Dan Oladapo in the 55 meters in 7.

Naugatuck did have a couple of performances that came close to qualifying for states, as well.

Brittany Burkman finished second in the triple jump at 26 feet, 5 inches and Andrew Dempsey leaped to fourth in the triple jump at 32 feet, 7.5 inches. Kevin Okifo finished third in the pole vault at 9 feet, 6 inches. The 55 meter shuttle hurdle team of Nicole Crowley and Makayla Teixeira finished fifth, giving Naugatuck a solid group of athletes that broke into the top ten.

The Greyhounds also had three relay teams with state qualifying times.

The boys 4×400 team of Aren Seeger, Andrew Carroll, Oladapo and Jalen Datil posted a time of 3:25.05. The foursome of Alvarado, Magalhaes, Jasmine Grey and Jill Orts posted a time of 1:54.45 to finish third in the 4×200. Alvarado, Magalhaes and Grey teamed up again with Melissa Goja in the 4×400 and placed sixth with a qualifying time of 4:33.24.

“The team goal is to try and score points in every event,” Naugatuck head coach Ralph Roper said. “The boys need just a few more inches in our jumps to move up to a position to score points. On the girls side we need a little more push on our throws to get it out there.”

The ‘Hounds have several athletes that are pushing times and distances, and are not that far off the pace of state qualification. Among them are Logan Bond and William Chockey in the shot put, Mike Campos and Mike Zamani in the 300 and 600, and Ross and Elliot Via in the distance runs.

The Naugatuck girls distance relay team of Courtney Morin, Cindy Stirk, Brianna Lennon and Lauren Stankiewicz finished ninth and is also closing in on a state qualifying time. Lexie Paul and Erin Schofield in the shot put, Liz Trumbley, Kaitlyn Reilly and Alondra Sistrunk in the jumps and hurdles along with Samantha Morin, Renell Clearance, Kaitlynn Price and Christina Caruso are all threats to make state qualification.

The Greyhounds competed in the Alpha Owl Invitational at Southern Connecticut State University on Friday and will race in the Elm City Coaches Invitational on Saturday at Hillhouse.

Roper was looking forward to see how the team has improved.

“We had some athletes away during the Christmas break and hopefully they stayed in shape and won’t have to make up too much,” he said. “With that being said we did have about 100 kids practicing over the break and we are anxious to see how they respond in our next meet.”