NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck boys and girls cross country teams are picking up the pace.
The boys improved to 8-0 win wins over Kennedy, 15-50, Watertown, 19-42, and Wolcott, 20-43, at Bucks Hill Park in Waterbury last Tuesday. The girls earned wins over Kennedy, 21-36, and Watertown, 27-30, but came up short against Wolcott, 23-33, to improve to 5-3.
The Greyhounds continued to drop their times as they head into the final two regular-season meets before the Naugatuck Valley League championship later this month.
“We had Chris Cook going under 19 minutes for the first time,” Naugatuck head coach Bill Hanley said. “Julia Kropo broke into the 22-minute mark. So, we are seeing continued improvement and we are certainly heading in the right direction.”
Brendon Soubannarath finished second in 18 minutes, 26 seconds to pace the boys team last week. Charlie Marenghi finished right behind him in third (18:28). Matt Nofri (fourth, 18:31), Cook (seventh, 18:57), Bryce Cegielski (eighth, 19:04), Jon Volpe (ninth, 19:36) and Joe Macary (10th, 19:37) all placed in the top ten for Naugatuck.
“We got a chance to see how we stack up against both Wolcott and Watertown, who had some very competitive runners last year,” Hanley said. “But continuing to drop our times is what will matter in a few weeks when we line up for the NVL championship.”
Kropo came into the race with two second-place finishes under her belt and continued to lead the girls, placing third with a season-best time of 22:58. Lauren Rupsis knocked 45 seconds off her time to finish sixth (24:00).
“Lauren is working hard and her effort is showing the results,” Hanley said. “Last year, she was at 26 minutes on this course.”
The girls team showed overall improvement with three runners breaking the 28-minute mark: Isabella Rafala (12th, 27:03), Caitlyn Doris (14th, 27:27) and Alyssa Jones (16th, 27:48).
“We still have some work to do,” Hanley said.
The Greyhounds will face Holy Cross, Derby and Crosby Tuesday. Naugatuck will host defending NVL champion Woodland, Seymour and Waterbury Career Oct. 8 to finish the regular season.