Siblings create family atmosphere for Naugatuck

The rosters of the Naugatuck High School boys and girls track and field teams are filled with siblings, including, from left, Brittany, Brendon and Brianna Soubannarath. –KEN MORSE

NAUGATUCK — Most sports teams talk about being a family. The Naugatuck boys and girls track teams take it a little more literally.

A look up and down the roster and it’s not hard to see why.

The girls team has six sets of sisters. The boys team has three sets of brothers. Combined, there are three sets of brother and sister pairs.

If Naugatuck had a theme song it would no doubt be “We are Family.”

On the girls team there are sisters Alyssa and Kaitlyn Zarrella, Kimani and Ebonee Grey, Krystina and Rachel Huculak, Erin and Caitlyn Doris, and Saranda and Ezra Cermenika.

For the boys, there are brothers Ben and Kevin Healy, Nick and Jeremy Raupach, and Ross and Elliott Via, who also happen to be twins.

Then there are the brother and sister acts of Madison and Aaron Santos and Nick and Sarah Tarmey.

The Greyhounds’ triple threat is the Soubannarath trio of Brianna, Brendon and Brittany.

“It’s hard to say who is the fastest because Brittany and I do long distance and Brianna does sprinting,” said Brendon, a sophomore. “We really didn’t follow in each other’s footsteps being on the same team, we just all had a love for track.”

Not only do all these siblings help create a family atmosphere, they also bring a higher level of competition out in one another.

“It’s really motivating because we are always pushing each other to be the best that we can be,” said Brianna, a junior and the eldest of the three Soubannaraths.

“We all have different events, so it’s not like we are competing against one other but it does motivate us and we are cheering each other on in the process,” added Brittany, a freshman.

Although track and cross country — the two sports all three siblings participate in — are fun, the real competition is in the classroom where all three are up at the top of their class.

“Having all these brother and sister siblings on the team certainly makes for a lot of competition in practice, and that’s not a bad thing,” Naugatuck head coach Ralph Roper said. “But what impresses me the most is the success that the team has in the classroom. As a whole our kids are at a 90 average and a lot of them are high honors. They all support one another and are very respectful of their teammates and coaches. It certainly makes us a better team and a much deeper team.”

That competition extends off the field as well.

“At home whatever we do it usually ends up as a competition to outdo one another,” Brianna said. “But in the end it’s all about having fun and supporting one other. Academically, I’m at the top of my class and sports really doesn’t distract me from that it just helps me to manage my time better.”

When the postseason arrives in a little more than a week and the NVL championship is at stake, it will come down to the Greyhounds managing their time and supporting one another, as a family should.