MIDDLEBURY — The Naugatuck boys cross country team capped its third straight undefeated regular season Tuesday to push the Greyhounds’ win streak to 42 in the NVL.
The Greyhounds swept Watertown, 27-29, Torrington, 15-50, and Waterbury Career, 15-50, at Hop Brook to finish 14-0. The boys head into the NVL championship meet Oct. 19 at Veterans Park in Watertown as the clear-cut favorite.
Naugatuck head coach Bill Hanley and longtime assistant coach Zeppy Teixeira have the Greyhounds, the three-time defending NVL champs, on pace to claim another crown. A four-peat will be on the shoulders of last year’s NVL champion and three-time All-NVL honoree senior Grady Beasley.
“Derby has a freshman who will pose a challenge,” Beasley said. “The Kennedy kid is also going to be tough, but it will all come down to the day you have. It’s a tough course.”
Beasley made it look easy on Tuesday winning for the third time this year in five meets in 17:32. Naugatuck senior Dave Kerns finished second in 17:40. That seems to be the strength of the Greyhounds, as coach Hanley always finds that one-two duo to lead the team.
What makes the boys the team to beat is their overall depth and it showed on Tuesday. Sophomore Luis Garces finished seventh, senior Brandon Thomas finished eighth, juniors Elliott Via and Ross Via took ninth and tenth, respectively.
“We have some tough competition. Watertown and Woodland both finished at 12-2. We have a solid group of runners and it all comes down to going out and having a good day,” Hanley said.
The Greyhounds also have experience. Along with Beasley, Thomas finished 11th at the championship last year and Kerns finished 15th, both earned All-Iron Division last season at the meet.
The seventh runner is still to be decided between senior Joe Dempsey, who has put up impressive numbers breaking into the 19 minute mark four times this year, and surprising freshman Charley Marenghi, who has a season-best of 19:36 under his belt.
The girls finished the regular season 8-6 with wins over Torrington, 26-29, and Waterbury Career, 21-35, on Tuesday. The Greyhounds fell to Watertown, 40-21.
The girls will be looking to track down NVL frontrunners Watertown (13-1) and Woodland (12-2) next week. The girls’ record may be deceiving as they dropped a pair of one-point decisions to St. Paul and Wolcott this season.
“That was tough to lose twice by just one point,” said Naugatuck senior Lauren Stankiewicz, who has three wins in five meets this season. “We have some younger girls who are really coming on and posting best times. It all comes down to going out and having your best day.”
Stankiewicz ran to fourth place on Tuesday in 22:18, a season best. Freshman Abigail Lombardi finished right behind her in fifth place in 23:05. Junior Briana Lennon finished 13th, freshman Lauren Rupsis was 16th, freshman Caitlyn Doris 23rd, senior Steffanie Dube 26th and junior Cindy Stirk was 31st.
Stankiewicz, Lennon, Dube, Stirk all competed in last year’s NVL championship and give the Greyhounds experience going into the meet.