Going the distance

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Naugy looks to set pace in NVL  

Naugatuck High junior Dan Schumacher (front left) and freshman Grady Beasley (front right) lead the boys cross country team on a run during practice Sept. 6 at Hop Brook State Park in Middlebury. -ELIO GUGLIOTTI
Naugatuck High junior Dan Schumacher (front left) and freshman Grady Beasley (front right) lead the boys cross country team on a run during practice Sept. 6 at Hop Brook State Park in Middlebury. -ELIO GUGLIOTTI

NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck boys and girls cross country teams are determined, experienced and loaded with talent. That all adds up to a group that has some high expectations of running with the pack this season and could be one of the league favorites.

The boys team returns from a 10-1 campaign that resulted in a Naugatuck Valley League Copper Division title, a second-place finish at the NVL championships and a seventh-place showing at the Class L state meet.

Junior captain Dan Schumacher finished third in the NVL and will lead the Greyhounds’ experienced lineup. Seniors James Dorosh, Tyler Hayward, Patrick McMahon, Brendan Hale and John Caruso provide Naugatuck with experience down the stretch.

Juniors Brody Hale, Brian Reilly, Rafael Felix and Colin Leclerc allow the ‘Hounds to put a strong front five at the starting line.

“This year’s team possesses a lot of talent, mental toughness and preparation,” said Naugatuck head coach Bill Hanley, entering his 10th year at the helm with a 92-5 record for the boys team. “If we can find a solid fifth runner we may be able to run with the league favorites.”

The Greyhounds may find that fifth runner among a group of very talented underclassmen. Sophomores Lawrence Andrade, Mike Huzior, Chris Farmassoni, Scott Kostka, Kevin Okifo, Mark Zamani and Mike Zamani join freshmen Grady Beasley, Jared Aponte, James Clark, Arshil Chowdhury, Joe Dempsey, Brandon Thomas and Matt Wahl to give Naugatuck the depth to go the distance.

Hanley enters his fourth season pulling double duty as the girls coach. Over the past three years he has guided the Greyhounds to an 18-4 ledger, including a 9-2 mark last season. The girls were the Copper Division champions and finished third at the NVL championships. Naugy placed 12th at the Class L state meet.

Naugatuck High seniors Madison Beasley (front left) and Caitlyn Colella (front right) lead the girls cross country team on a run during practice Sept. 6 at Hop Brook State Park in Middlebury. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI
Naugatuck High seniors Madison Beasley (front left) and Caitlyn Colella (front right) lead the girls cross country team on a run during practice Sept. 6 at Hop Brook State Park in Middlebury. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

Leading the way for the girls team will be senior captain Madison Beasley along with fellow seniors Jordyn Allen (fifth at the NVL meet) and Catlyn Colella.

Juniors Harmony Sturdivant, Brianna Prentice and Mercedes DeSousa give Naugatuck experience and leadership to bring along the underclassmen, who will provide the depth and possibly a few runners who will make an impact by season’s end.

“This year’s girls team is a very talented group,” Hanley said. “They’re all coachable and their summer miles have put them in a position to improve on last year’s performance.”

Sophomores Meghan Brown, Heyi Cheng, Courtney Morin, Jill Orts, Emily Pohorilak, Liz Trumbly, Meghan Wright and Kalie Gelada join freshmen Taylor Sbat and Lauren Stankiewicz to give the Greyhounds some quality depth.

“If we stay healthy and continue to improve we may be able to compete with the league favorites,” Hanley said.

Naugatuck had a final tune-up Saturday running in the Windham Invitational and will open the season Tuesday at Holy Cross in a quad meet with Torrington, Crosby and the Crusaders.