TORRINGTON — The Naugatuck track teams had the athletes to run the race but in the end they didn’t have enough of them to stay in the hunt for an Naugatuck Valley League title.
With each athlete limited to only three events at the outdoor track and field championship meet in Torrington on Tuesday, overall team depth became a huge factor. The Naugatuck boys finished fourth with 86 points and the girls placed fifth with 64 points.
Seymour won the boys championship with 138 points, while Woodland won the girls title with 111.75 points.
The Naugatuck boys were led by senior Mark Zamani, who won three races and two NVL track awards in his final league championship meet.
“Mark had an outstanding day,” Naugatuck head coach Ralph Roper said. “We had some athletes with real good performances. It was a good day but it just wasn’t the Greyhounds’ day, and it all came down to not enough depth that the other teams had.”
Zamani won the 800 (1:56.94), 1600 (4:36.35) and 3200 (10:15.91), and was awarded the Most Outstanding Distance Runner for his effort. He also shared the Most Outstanding Meet Performer with Seymour’s Bobby Melms.
In each of the distance events, Zamani crossed the finish ahead of Woodland’s Jeff Giusto by mere seconds.
“The 3200 was especially tough after that 1:56 (in the 800),” Zamani said. “(Jeff) Giusto is a great, great competitor. I really enjoyed that last 200 (meters in the 3,200). That was really fun.”
Fejiro Onakpoma, who was named the Most Outstanding Jumper, took first in the triple jump in 45 feet, 10 inches — 3 feet ahead of the closest competitor. He also set a personal best of 6 feet in the high jump, placing third.
Graden Beasley ran with Zamani and Giusto in the distance races and finished third in the 1,600 and 3,200. Antoine Sistrunk finished fourth in the triple jump, Aren Seeger was sixth in the 400 meters and freshman Jacob Fazekas was seventh in the 110 hurdles.
The 4×100 relay team of Rami Ammar, Mike Zamani, Dan Oladapo and Sistrunk, and the 4×800 team of Dave Kerns, Joe Dempsey, Ross Via and Elliott Via both finished sixth and qualified for the states.
The Naugatuck girls had their own triple threat — senior Ariana Alvarado.
Alvarado, who was named Most Outstanding Sprinter, won the 100 (12.66), 200 (26.58) and the 400 (1:00.97)
“I had my 100 finals and then my coach told me I had to go run the 400 finals,” Alvarado said. “I was like, ‘What?’ I wasn’t even relaxed and I was still breathing heavily. But I came out and ran a PR, so I was really excited.”
The Woodland girls won the title without one first-place finish all day, showing how crucial depth is to winning a league championship.
“We were expecting to do a little better as far as what place the team finished at, but when you are limited to just three events team depth makes a lot of difference,” Naugatuck assistant coach Bill Hanley said.
Naugatuck’s Erin Schofield won the javelin for the second year in a row with a throw of 111 feet, 7 feet ahead of her nearest competitor. Kyla Magalhaes had a personal best, finishing second in the 300 hurdles in 48.96.
Renell Clarence raced to a fifth in the 200 meters, while the 4×800 relay team of Briana Lennon, Melissa Goja, Cindy Stirk and Lauren Stankiewicz finished fifth, both qualifying for states.
The Republican-American contributed to this article.