NAUGATUCK — After placing fourth and fifth, respectively, at last year’s Naugatuck Valley League championship meet, the Naugatuck girls and the boys indoor track teams are looking to improve on that performance when the league comes together Monday to crown this year’s champions.
The NVL championships are set to begin at 5:30 p.m. at New Haven’s Floyd Little Athletic Center.
Naugatuck head coach Ralph Roper and assistant coach Bill Hanley have been putting the Greyhounds through the paces, and the results have been quite promising.
Kylie Neretich, who has consistently finished first this season in the 55 meter dash and the 55 hurdles, and Allison Murphy, who has put up solid numbers this season with top-five finishes in the 300 and 600 meters, lead the girls team.
Last year, Neretich placed second in the 55 hurdles and Murphy placed second in the 1000 meters at the NVL championships.
The girls team also has quite a few athletes that provide depth and confidence to a team that is on the rise.
Emma Sonski (sprints) and Julia Kropo (mid-distance) add to the team’s overall balance. Daniella Acevedo placed fifth in the high jump last year and will be a threat to land in the top five again.
Tori Lawson, Lauren Rupsis, Liz Krooss, Lauren Sonski and Rachel Huculak give the Greyhounds a solid core to build the relay teams. Isabella Rafala, Britney Soubannarath and Viola Cermenika add to the team’s depth in the hurdles and jumps.
The boys team has a lot more depth than in years past, too.
Bryce Cegielski, who finished fifth last year in the 1000 meters, Matt Nofri, who placed fifth last year in the 1600 meters, and Jonny Volpe, who took sixth last year in the 600, have all improved their 2019 times and will look to compete for top-three spots.
The boys team is stacked in the relays with Volpe, Cegielski, Chris Cook, Brendon Soubannarath, Charlie Marenghi, Jack Healy, Brendan Lyle and Louis Zarrella.
“I think the depth that we added this year gives us a lot more balance,” Roper said. “We have a solid core in several of the events and should be able to put up some valuable points. We are still working on some things, especially in the jumps.”
Tyvias Dippelhoffer is a contender in the shot put.
“Last year, we scored zero in our throws,” Roper said. “Tyvias gives us a shot at putting some points up there and make us even more competitive.”
Cameron Jacobs (hurdles), Leo’Angel Lopez (300 meters) and Ethan Garcia (55 meters) help put the Greyhounds in a position to compete with the top of the field.
The Greyhounds had a final tune-up last Saturday at the Hillhouse Track Classic before the championship meet.
“We are at the point in the season where some of the athletes are experiencing the occasional bumps and bruises,” Roper said. “But for the most part, as a team, we are in pretty good shape.”