Greyhounds putting pieces in place

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NAUGATUCK — Track and field is a sport with many moving parts trying to all come together in the pursuit of excellence.

Over the past few seasons, the Greyhounds had to focus their resources on specific events and left some points on the board in the process. Naugatuck is filling those gaps this season, and the Greyhounds have moved toward the top of the pack in the Naugatuck Valley League.

“We are still in the process of putting some pieces in place to help us to be successful,” head coach Ralph Roper said. “The boys and girls teams are doing very well at this point, and we continue to work hard to get better with each meet.”

The boys team swept a tri-meet with Woodland and Sacred Heart on April 23 to improve to 8-0.

The girls team fell by just 14 points to six-time defending NVL champion Woodland and beat Sacred Heart, and continues to be the surprise in the league at 6-2.

“We were close, and as I told the kids it wouldn’t be easy,” Roper said. “We just fell short. Not to take anything away from Woodland, they just have so many weapons.”

The Naugy boys set the tone April 23 by winning all three relays. The 4×100 team of Sean Evardo, Shane Carey, Jeff Schebell and Chris Akindura took first in 44.5 seconds. The 4×400 squad of Ben Healy, Jon Volpe, Zach Koslosky and Isaiah Williams (3 minutes, 35 seconds) and the 4×800 foursome of Volpe, Matt Nofri, Austin Herb and Charley Marenghi (8:58) completed the sweep.

Koslosky won the 300 hurdles (41.8) and the pole vault (13 feet, 6 inches). Akindura took first in the 100 (11.34) and Volpe won the 800 (2:10).

The girls team won two of three relays. The 4×100 team of Kaitlyn Zarrella, Rachel Huculak, Paige Cruz and Kylie Neretich posted a 52.7, and the 4×400 squad of Julia Dudek, Cruz, Liz Kroos and Alyssa Zarrella won in 4:36.

In individual events, Neretich won the 200 (28.4) and the 100 hurdles (16.5). Allison Murphy won the 400 (61.1) and 800 (2:27), Huculak won the 100 (13.5), and Zarrella won the 300 hurdles (52.7).

The girls team has developed depth and diversity throughout the lineup.

Kaylee Jackson provides a long distance threat in the 1600 and 3200, and Brianna Soubannarath is a versatile performer in the high jump and pole vault. Naugy utilizes throwers Riley Arellano, Abby Lawson and Brin Battisti.

Emily Kropo has come on of late in the high jump, and Lilly Lyons has put points on the board in the triple jump. Evelyn Diaz (mid-distance), Lauren Rupsis (relays) and Julia Kropo (relays) give the Greyhounds the deepest team they have had in quite a few seasons.

“We are trying to not only have a go-to person in each event we are trying to groom two or three athletes in each event,” Roper said. “If someone has an off day the other can pick up the slack and we don’t give up anything.”

Naugy will face Oxford and Waterbury Career on Tuesday. The Greyhounds will close out the regular season next week versus Watertown and Seymour before preparing for the NVL championships later in May.