NAUGATUCK — After wrapping up the regular season, the Naugatuck High boys and girls track teams are looking to contend for Naugatuck Valley League titles.
The Naugatuck boys completed an undefeated regular season and improved to 12-0 with a sweep of Watertown, 94-56, and Seymour, 96-38, May 7 at Watertown High School. The Naugatuck girls finished the regular season 8-3-1 — their best mark since finishing league runner-up in 2014 — after tying Seymour, 75-75, and falling to Watertown, 80-70.
The Greyhounds head into the NVL championships Tuesday at Torrington High School with deep squads that have all the events covered. The boys are looking to win their first NVL championship since 2015, while the girls last won it all in 2010.
“Since 2010, we haven’t had a team as strong as the one we have this season,” said head coach Ralph Roper, in reference to the girls winning the title in 2010 and the boys taking it in 2011. “Our objective is we need to cover all the events and not leave any points out there as we have in the past. If we don’t have anyone to fill an event, we will find someone to fill that spot.”
The boys got things started at Watertown by winning the 4×100 relay. The team of Radsir Vaughn, Paul Marsh, Sean Evardo and Chris Akindura finished the relay in 44.75 seconds.
Naugy has used many athletes for the three relays this season, also finding success with Jon Volpe, Sam Daniel and Isaiah Williams. The Greyhounds have strong distance runners and sprinters, as well, with Brendon Soubannarath, Matt Nofri, Charley Marenghi, Austin Herb, Akindura, Daniel and Vaughn.
“I’m really excited about our chances going into the NVL meet,” Akindura said. “We have a real balanced team and everyone is working hard to be successful.”
“Finishing out the regular season the way we did really raises our confidence level heading into the championship meet,” Paul Marsh added.
Naugatuck has a couple of guys who can win multiple events in Zach Koslosky and Ben Healy. Koslosky won the 110 hurdles (15.5), the 300 hurdles (41.15) and the pole vault (14 feet, 0 inches) at Watertown. Healy, who competes in all three jumps, took first in the triple jump (38-9 1/2) last week.
Sean Carey won the long jump (19-9) and Volpe took first in the 800. A stable of throwers with David Green, Tyvias Dippelhofer and Williams adds to the Greyhounds’ competitive edge.
A new group of athletes have helped put a charge into the girls team.
In her first season on the team, junior Kylie Neretich has been a front runner in her events. Freshmen Allison Murphy, Kaylee Jackson and Julia Kropo have also made their presence felt. All three freshmen were part of the 4×800 relay team with Tori Lawson that took first place at Watertown in 10 minutes, 26 seconds.
“It feels really special to be part of something so exciting,” Kropo said. “The girls team hasn’t had this kind of success in a while and to be part of that is just amazing.”
Murphy showed she is a gamer, winning the 400 (59.3), 800 (2:34) and 3200 (12:55) last week. Jackson ran to victory in the 1600 in 5:57.
“We have so much to bring to the table,” Murphy said. “It feels great to be able to contribute to the success we are having.”
Naugy also brings of a wealth of experience to the table with seniors Brianna Soubannarath and Alyssa Zarrella (jumps), Evelyn Diaz and Julia Dudek (mid-distance), juniors Paige Cruz, Rachel Huculak, Lauren Rupsis and Liz Krooss (relays), and throwers Riley Arellano, Abby Lawson and Alyssa Jones.
“The kids are having fun and they are doing well,” Roper said. “We are still working on some things so stay tuned.”