NEW BRITAIN — Naugatuck track and field head coach Ralph Roper expects the boys’ strong finish at the Class L championship meet, and the girls’ relatively weak one, will be reflected throughout next year’s season as the boys’ program will be peaking as the girls rebuild.
“We’re losing a lot of very key players for the girls program, and we’ll definitely be in the rebuilding process for the next year or two,” he said, “so things are lifting and shifting here.”
The boys squad tied with North Haven for 6th place at the state class at Willowbrook Park Wednesday.
The boys scored a combined 39 points, 19 of which came from high-jump, long-jump and triple-jump performances compliments of Amanze Williams, who placed fourth, third and second in the events, respectively.
He cleared a high-jump bar set at 6 feet, 2 inches; lunged 22 feet in the long jump; and bounded 47 feet, 8 inches in the triple jump.
Donato Piroscafo hurled a javelin 173 feet for a second-place finish worth eight points.
On the track, Jamal Gee tallied seven points for the Hounds, taking fifth place in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.52 seconds and sixth place in the 200-meter dash with a time of 23.37.
Roper expects Gee, a junior, will improve considerably next season, since he was a track newbie this year, or as Roper put it, a “freshman athlete.”
His strong performances at the class meet were displays of pure speed and power, Roper said, rather than mechanical know-how.
“He’s still trying to understand how to race and show to sprint, and you know it takes some time,” Roper said. “But you can’t take anything away from speed. Either you have it or you don’t. What you can do is add to it.”
Distance runner Muad Hrezi took eighth in the 3,200-meter run with a time of 9:57.37, scoring one point, and helped teammates Erik DeSouza, Ralph Ligouri and Mashia Thomas take fifth in the four-by-800 relay. That squad clocked in with a time of 8:20.99.
Winning the boys’ meet was Hand with 85.5 points, followed by Notre Dame (83 points) and Windsor (48 points).
The Naugatuck girls tied with Wilbur Cross for 16th place, scoring 13 points, all of which were recorded on the track.
Roper said he decided to let the girls focus on individual performances rather than push for a high-scoring, strong team finish.
“I was thinking, ‘Look, we’re not going to go for the team, because we know who’s going to be the top two based on what they’re bringing, so it’s not even going to be close,” Roper said. “So you know what? We’re not going to focus on that. We’re going to focus on individual performances.’”
The four-by-800 squad comprising Rosa Moriello, Tori Pisco, Natalie Carvalho and Shelby Hale took third place with a time of 9:40.54, scoring six points.
Pisco also took fifth in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 48.50 seconds to score four points; Moriello placed sixth in the 3,200-meter run with a time of 11:27.50, which was worth three points.
Winning the girls meet was Windsor with 122 points, followed by Simsbury (99 points) and Darien (83 points).