Greyhounds look to be in the running at NVLs

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NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck boys indoor track team finished runner-up at the Naugatuck Valley League championship meet last season. As the NVL prepares to come together to decide this year’s boys and girls championships Jan. 28 at the Floyd Little Athletic Complex in New Haven, Naugatuck head coach Ralph Roper expects that road to be a little steeper for the boys.

“It’s going to be a dog fight,” Roper said. “Derby is strong, Watertown will be tough and Sacred Heart is coming up. Then there is always Seymour and Woodland that pose a threat as well.

“It’s going to be a tough competition. We don’t have the speed that we had last year, but I think in the field events is where we are going to make up some ground.”

The Naugy girls finished fifth last season. Roper is anticipating a much-improved effort for the girls, who have bolstered their roster with what the coach calls “some game-changers.”

“I’m really hopeful for the girls team,” Roper said. “We have a much stronger lineup this year with the additions of senior Evelyn Diaz, junior Kylie Neretich and freshman Allison Murphy. We also have seen a big improvement from some of the other girls, like sophomore Tori Lawson. She is a workhorse and is a fierce competitor. We have a lot more depth than in years past.”

Seniors Zach Koslosky (pole vault, 55 meter hurdles, 300 meters) and Ben Healy (long jump, high jump, 300 meters), who have both qualified for states in each of their events, lead the boys squad.

The boys team will also rely on their 4×4 relay squad, which has qualified for the state meet, of junior Bryce Cegielski, sophomore Jon Volpe, Healy and Koslosky.

The boys team will also be looking to senior leadership from Nicholas Tarmey and Dylan Gloden (hurdles) along with Brenden Kerns and Sean Evardo (relays) as well as William Daly and Genesis Allen to stay competitive.

The girls have a solid core of 55 meter hurdlers, led by seniors Brianna Soubannarath and Alyssa Zarrella along with Neretich and Murphy. All four have all qualified for states.

The girls relay teams will be led by senior Julia Dudek and juniors Lauren Rupsis and Caitlyn Doris. Senior Kimani Grey and junior Daniella Acevedo will handle the jumps, and senior Riley Arellano and junior Liz Krooss (300 meters) add to the team’s overall depth.

The Greyhounds had a meet last Saturday and a meet for freshmen and sophomores Monday for a final tune-up before the championship meet.

“We know what we need to do in order to be competitive,” Roper said. “It’s just a matter of going out there and getting it done.”

“This is such a pleasant group of kids to work with,” Roper added. “They all have a great attitude and they approach the challenges every day that will help them to be successful. It will be a tough competition, but with the work ethic they have shown all season, I know we will be in the running.”