NAUGATUCK — A late January meet against the defending four-time Naugatuck Valley League champions is as good as any measuring stick for the Greyhounds to see where they are at this point in the season and how far they need to go.
Holy Cross set the tone against Naugatuck by sweeping the first three places in three events in a 98-80 win on Jan. 25. The meet showed the Greyhounds have some work ahead of them if they want to topple the defending champs at the NVL championship meet on March 1, but the loss wasn’t without its share of success for Naugatuck.
“The meet itself was a very successful meet for the team outside of the final score,” Naugatuck head coach Dan Knepple said. “We had a lot of personal best times and some of the other kids broke some marks that they set as goals.”
“In terms of the meet, it was a very competitive environment,” Knepple added. “It was the most competitive meet that we’ve had this year, and the guys were ready to go and put up some very good times.”
Holy Cross finished first, second and third in the 50, 100 and 500 freestyle races.
Naugatuck was right on the Crusaders’ heels in the races. In the 50 freestyle, Jacob Hall (4th, 25.49) and Joe Amato (5th, 25.66) finished less than a half a second behind the third-place finisher.
In the 100 freestyle, Dale Wakeley placed fourth (54.95), just a half a second off the third-place pace, and Austin Herb (4th, 5:40.92) finished less than a half a second from third place in the 500 freestyle.
Spencer Maher finished second in the 200 IM (2:01.59) and the 100 butterfly (54.82), getting touched out at the wall in both races. Wakeley also turned in a second-place finish in the 200 freestyle (1:58.36).
Logan Martin won the diving event for Naugatuck with a score of 221.77.
The Greyhounds got back on the winning track with an 86-75 win over Torrington on Jan. 28 to improve to 6-3 on the season.
The ‘Hounds took first, second and third in the 200 freestyle, led by Maher (1st, 1:51.14), Austin Herb (2nd, 2:05.71) and Amato (3rd, 2:09.85).
The diving team swept the event. Tsering Dhondup finished first (157.88) followed by Tyler Ruisi and Justin Stone.
Maher took first in the 100 butterfly (56.10), Gavin McKeon won the 500 freestyle (5:52.52), and Bailey Ceryak finished first in the 200 IM (2:30.50).
Naugy was scheduled to face Sacred Heart on Feb. 1. Results from the meet weren’t reported. Naugatuck will face Seymour on Tuesday and Pomperaug on Friday. The Greyhounds will host Woodland on Feb. 12 to end the regular season.
Knepple said the team is shaping up well as the Greyhounds head down the home stretch of the season.
“I think as a team we are beginning to realize how mobile we are with guys swimming in different events that they are not accustomed to being in,” Knepple said. “That will only help us as we head toward the championship meet, giving us a lot more depth. We are shaping up quite well heading into the last stretch of the season, but the weather has slowed us down a bit.”