By Ken Morse, Citizen’s News
NAUGATUCK — After opening the season with wins over Oxford, the Naugatuck boys and girls cross country teams drew an early bye week in the shortened, four-meet season.
“For better or worse, this COVID has given us some extra time to train. In a regular season [this] week would be time for the NVL championship and here we are preparing for our second meet of the season,” Naugatuck head coach Bill Hanley said last week.
The Greyhounds used that extra time to concentrate on improving their times. It paid off Oct. 6 in the season-opening, 15-50 wins against Oxford
“I think we started out really well,” Hanley said. “They performed beyond my expectations for a first meet of the season.”
Jon Volpe led the boys to victory and finished first in 17:27.
“Jon (Volpe) has shown himself to be a leader,” Hanley said. “He doesn’t talk a lot, but if you are a younger runner on the team all you have to do is follow his example to know how to be successful.”
The boys placed six other runners in the top ten: Shayne Hasipi (3rd, 18:59), Brendan Lyles (4th, 19:44), Chance Conklin (5th, 20:43), Jack Healy (6th, 20:53), Zach McCasland (7th, 21:32) and Joe Cervone (8th, 21:48).
Julia Kropo finished fourth in 24:14 to lead the girls.
“We had a training run about a month ago at Oxford and Julia was a minute faster in our first meet than she was then,” Hanley said. “I’m really pleased with the progress she is making.”
Viola Cermenika was behind Kropo in fifth (28:04). Phoebe Jagello (6th, 30:28), Gina Conforti (7th, 31:35) and Alyssa Jones (8th, 31:47) placed in the top ten.
Hanley also praised the effort of a pair of freshmen.
“Our two freshmen, Phoebe and Autumn (Tansley), have really shown improvement as they try and meet the challenges of the longer distances in high school,” he said.
Naugatuck is scheduled to race Derby on Oct. 20. Naugy has meets at Woodland on Oct. 27 and at Seymour on Nov. 3 to wrap up the season. A potential postseason meet is to be determined.