NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck cross country teams are making strides with returning runners improving and a few up-and-comers making an impact early on.
The boys improved to 5-1 on the season in a quad meet Sept. 19 at Seymour. The Greyhounds picked up wins over Waterbury Career and the Wildcats, and fell to Woodland.
“There were six runners that finished ahead of our No. 1 in the boys race,” Naugatuck head coach Bill Hanley said. “But every course is different, and the conditions effect your time. But kudos to Woodland, they are putting in the work and are getting the results.”
The girls ran their record to 3-3 at the meet, earning a win over Waterbury Career, but coming up short to Seymour and Woodland.
Charley Marenghi led the boys by finishing seventh in 18:20. David Garces finished in eighth place in 18:25. Freshman Tim Bristol was 10th (18:39), and senior Austin Herb finished 11th (18:49).
“Charley was almost two minutes faster than last year’s time,” Hanley said. “Brendon Soubannarath ran sick and couldn’t finish the race but he has been dropping time as well.
“David posted one of his best times. Ben and Austin are our captains and they are leading by example. Austin dropped 3:55 off his time from last year, a significant improvement, and Ben dropped 3:35 off his time, and that’s why they are leading this team.”
Bryce Cegielski (13th, 19:28), Chris Cook (16th, 19:36) and Matt Nofri (17th, 19:37) all broke the 20-minute mark.
“I’m excited about some of our younger kids,” Hanley said. “Tim, a freshman in his first varsity race, posted an 18:39. Nofri, another freshman, was our seventh best, and Kilmer, who pulled a muscle, finished 11th in the freshman race on [Sept. 15].”
“So we may be young for the most part, but there is a lot of potential on this team,” he added. “Maybe we won’t finish at the top of the league but we are going to continue to see those improvements over the course of the season.”
The girls are developing three solid competitors who can challenge for top-ten times.
Junior Lauren Rupsis just missed the top ten at Seymour, finishing 11th in 23:22. Senior Evelyn Diaz put up a strong performance, finishing 16th in 24:19, and freshman Julia Kropo, who posted a 24:55 in the season-opener, didn’t finish last week at Seymour.
The Greyhounds have several runners trending in the right direction.
“Lauren did a 43-second improvement from the last time she raced at Seymour,” Hanley said. “Victoria (Weng) is one of our younger girls that is getting better each race, and Gina (Conforti) knocked a minute off her time from last year.”
Naugatuck’s meet against Oxford, Sacred Heart and Wilby on Tuesday was postponed to Thursday due to rain. The Greyhounds will head to Bristol on Oct. 2 to race Torrington and St. Paul.