NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck cross country team has started the 2016 season about as well as coach Bill Hanley could have hoped.
The boys are 8-0 through three meets and have won 36 straight in Naugatuck Valley League competition dating back to the beginning of the 2014 season. The girls are 6-2, their best start since 2013 when they started 6-0.
The boys continued their winning ways Sept. 27, defeating Wilby (20-43), Oxford (17-46) and Sacred Heart (15-46).
David Kerns lead the way for the Greyhounds, finishing second with a time of 18:34. His teammate, Grady Beasley, finished just behind him with a time of 18:52 to take third. Elliot Via, Ross Via, and Charlie Marenghi also cracked the top ten for Naugatuck, finishing fifth, sixth, and tenth, respectively. It is the third time this season that at least four Naugy runners finished in the top ten.
Hanley said that Beasley, who already has two first-place finishes on the season, makes an impact on his teammates every day.
“Grady Beasley continues to challenge the guys to do the little things the right way, every time, every day,” Hanley said.
Hanley said that this deep squad has been successful because of the amount of work and experience that each player is getting.
“Up and down the roster the guys are gaining conditioning and race experience every week,” Hanley said.
The girls picked up their fourth, fifth, and sixth victories Sept. 27, defeating Oxford (26-30), Sacred Heart (25-30), and Wilby (15-40).
Lauren Stankiewicz continues to dominate the course. She has placed first in each of the three meets thus far this season.
Stankiewicz was the first to cross the finish line again on Tuesday with a time of 23:22. She was followed soon after by Brianna Lennon (fifth), Lauren Rupsis (sixth) and Caitlin Doris (10th).
Rupsis and Doris are just freshmen, but Hanley said that they were key in the team succeeding on Tuesday. The pair, along with fellow freshman Abby Lombardi, are “contributing nicely to the group,” he said.
Hanley added that everyone has been a contributing factor to the team’s early success.
“I can’t stress enough that each runner has played a different but key role in the team’s success so far,” Hanley said.
The season will get more challenging for the girls, but Hanley feels they can be a team to watch late in the season.
“There are major challenges ahead in our schedule,” Hanley said. “If we can stay focused on the task at hand and avoid injuries, we may continue being competitive in the league.”
Naugatuck will host Derby, St. Paul and Wolcott Oct. 4.