BRISTOL — The Naugatuck boys and girls cross country teams will look to leave their mark on the Naugatuck Valley League next week.
The NVL cross country championship meet is set for Oct. 17 at Veterans Park in Watertown.
The Naugatuck boys finished the regular season 10-2 after beating Wolcott and Kennedy but falling to Watertown in the regular-season finale on Tuesday. Last week’s boys race against St. Paul and Torrington was postponed due to weather, and it will be decided at the championship meet.
Freshman Tim Bristol paced the Greyhounds on Tuesday with a fourth-place finish in 18:40. Charlie Marenghi (fifth, 18:51), Austin Herb (ninth, 19:45) and Bryce Cegielski (10th, 19:52) finished in the top ten for Naugy.
The boys, whose other loss came to undefeated Woodland, have the look of a contender for the NVL crown.
“All the boys have a tremendous work ethic,” Naugatuck head coach Bill Hanley said. “With proper rest, I believe they will have their best day on the most important day.”
The boys are led by senior captains Herb and Ben Healy.
“We definitely have a strong team,” Healy said. “We are ready to bring what we have and we will compete well. Being one of the captains, I just wanted to come into the season and show the younger guys how to go out and work hard.”
The Greyhounds will also be counting on senior David Garces along with juniors Cegielski, Marenghi and Brendon Soubannarath. Bristol heads up the younger group of Greyhounds looking to make their mark along with freshmen Matt Kilmer and Matt Nofri.
The Greyhounds have shown marked improvement in their times from last season.
“My goal this season was to get the younger guys to focus on Coach Hanley,” said Herb, who dropped close to 4 minutes off his time from last year. “Coach knows how to make good runners great runners, and we have seen the results this season.
“He certainly knows what he’s doing. He always says the hardest steps are the first ones and before you know it you are going five, six, seven miles. I think our progress from day one has improved tremendously and I wouldn’t underestimate the Greyhounds.”
The girls got their race in last week. Naugatuck beat Kennedy on Tuesday and fell to Watertown and Wolcott to finish the regular season 7-7.
Julia Kropo finished seventh in 24:28 to lead Naugatuck, and Evelyn Diaz took ninth in 25:19.
The girls team has put together a strong unit, led by junior captain Lauren Rupsis. Seniors Diaz and Brianna Soubannarath, junior Caitlyn Doris and sophomore Gina Conforti give Naugatuck some runners who can stay with the pack.
Kropo and fellow freshman Victoria Weng have developed this season and will look to make an impact at the championship meet.
“They are all working hard,” Hanley said. “They should be prepared to put their best foot forward on the NVL stage.”
Editor’s note: This story has been updated from the version that is published in the Oct. 11 edition of the Citizen’s News to include information on meets after press time.