By Ken Morse, Citizen’s News
NAUGATUCK — After waiting two years to get back on the track, the Naugatuck boys and girls track teams had to wait a little longer after their first meet of the season was postponed.
It was worth the wait.
The Greyhounds opened the season with a bang, sweeping Holy Cross and Waterbury Career on April 20 at Naugatuck High School to start 2-0.
The boys scored an 80-63 win over Holy Cross and upended Waterbury Career, 96-33. The girls easily got by the Crusaders, 115-38, and Waterbury Career, 130-23.
“We did have some of the distance guys doing conditioning during the winter season after indoor got cancelled,” head coach Ralph Roper said. “That’s all we were able to do was condition. At the end of each week, I would have a time trial and I think that helped them come into the outdoor season a little more confident.”
Multiple athletes stepped up for the boys teams.
Cameron Jacobs took first in the 110 (17.22) and the 300 (45.06) hurdles. Jon Volpe raced to victory in the 800 (2:07.66) and the 1600 (4:43.56). LeoAngel Lopez won the 200 (22.2) and the 400 (52.63), Ayden Tripp won the long jump (18-9) and the triple jump (38-5), and Chance Conklin won the pole vault (10-6).
Naugy swept all three throwing events. Jack Healy won the shot put (33-8), Kevin Healy took first in the discus (92-8), and Steve Herb won the javelin (126-5).
“With guys like Volpe and Jacobs, we could kind of know what we were going to get,” Roper said. “It was good to see Lopez step up in the sprints. But I was pleased to see Tripp do so well, I just started working with him on those events just two days before the meet.”
“Conklin struggled a bit in the past, but Zach Koslosky and Mike Spragg, former pole vaulters, volunteered to come in and show him the finer points, and he responded well,” Roper added.
The boys took first in all three relays. Tripp, Justin Carroll, Jayshawn Lindsay and Lopez won the 4×100 (45.94). Jacobs, Lindsay, Taylor Trowers and Dan Anderson took first in the 4×400 (3:44.87), and the 4×800 foursome Shayne Hasipi, Matt Nofri, Trowers and Volpe won in 8:45.97 to make it a clean sweep.
Lauren Sonski and Allison Murphy had outstanding performances for the girls team.
Sonski won the 800 (2:37.91), 1600 (5:59.03) and the 3200 (15:47.81). Murphy won the 100 hurdles (17.25) and the 300 hurdles (49.23), and placed second in the 200 meters. She qualified for states in each event.
“Lauren has been working throughout last summer and she has made some serious improvements,” Roper said. “Murphy qualified for states in three events in the first meet. She is really motivated and is looking to take things up a notch.”
Alyssa Jones won the triple jump (24-9) and was the top thrower for Naugy in the shot put, discus and javelin. Jayda Costa cleared 5 feet to win the pole vault.
“Alyssa is also our best thrower, so she had a productive day for us,” Roper said. “Julia Kropo put up a solid performance in the distance.”
The girls 4×100 relay team of Leticia DoNascimento, Ayana Williams, Jessica SaintPaul and Layla Nemeth won in 56.97. The 4×800 relay squad of Sonski, Autumn Tansley, Costa and Viola Cermenika finished first in 11:56.84.
“It was a great job by both the boys and the girls,” Roper said. “I don’t know if it was because they waited so long to get back out there after losing a season or what, but with the talent on this team I feel like a kid in a candy store.”
The Greyhounds are set to face Wolcott and Woodland in an early-season test on April 27.
“Our next meet is going to be tough and it won’t be a walk in the park,” Roper said.