NAUGATUCK — With two indoor track meets under their belts, the Greyhounds have made some noise early this season.
The boys and girls teams both earned four top-ten finishes in events at the Hillhouse Holiday Invitational Dec. 28.
“We have been very fortunate to have early success to help us build on and to gain a little confidence,” Naugatuck head coach Ralph Roper said.
Kylie Neretich won the 55 hurdles (9.23) for the second meet in a row. She also picked up a fourth-place finish in the long jump (15-3.25).
The girls 4×800 relay team of Tori Lawson, Julia Kropo, Allison Murphy and Lauren Rupsis placed third (10:48.72). The 4×200 relay squad of Lauren Sonski, Liz Krooss, Rachel Huculak and Emma Sonski finished fourth (1:56.13).
“All three of our girls relay teams have qualified for states,” Roper said. “Kylie (Neretich) has qualified in the 55 dash, 55 hurdles and the long jump. And, for the first time in five years, we have a qualifier in the 1600 in Allison Murphy.”
Charley Marenghi led the boys with a third-place finish in the 3200 (10:47.15) at the Hillhouse Holiday Invitational.
Matt Nofri placed seventh in the 3200 (10:51.92) and Tyvias Dippelhofer finished sixth in the shot put (38-11.50).
“Tyvias is one of two football players we have on the team,” Roper said. “He has been with us for three years and when he started he was barely breaking 30 feet. We went to a throwing clinic before the season, and he is currently ranked second in the NVL.”
The boys 4×800 team of Jonny Volpe, Brendon Soubannarath, Bryce Cegielski and Chris Cook finished second (9:00.08). Volpe placed 11th in the 300 meters and Ethan Garcia finished 15th in the 55 dash.
The boys have qualified for the states in the 4×400 and 4×800 relays. Dippelhofer has qualified in the shot put and Volpe has qualified in the 300 and 600 meters.
Roper has some new athletes that can make their mark at his disposal this season.
“We have a couple of new kids to add to the arsenal,” Roper said. “On the girls’ side, we have Emma Sonski and, with her speed, she can be a big-time player for us. For the boys, we have a freshman, Dhruv Nimmaghalda, who will make an impact for us in the 55 dash, and Brendan Lyles in the 55 hurdles.”
With the holiday break over, Roper is looking forward to having his team at full strength as the Greyhounds continue to prepare for the Naugatuck Valley League championships Feb. 3 in New Haven.
“We still have some work to do, but the kids are working hard and I like what I see so far,” Roper said.
Naugatuck is set to compete in the Elm City Coaches Invite on Saturday in New Haven.