Greyhounds post strong showing in NVL, Class L championships


Naugatuck's Melissa LaBonte clears the bar in the high jump competition during the NVL indoor track championships Feb. 9. LaBonte placed third in the high jump. PHOTO BY LARAINE WESCHLER
NEW HAVEN — The Naugatuck boys indoor track team finished second at the Naugatuck Valley League championship meet last Wednesday and then made a strong showing in the Class L competition last Friday, finishing third among a field of 24 teams.

The girls finished third at the NVL championship meet but faced a very competitive meet in Class L and were unable to score.
Amanze Williams led the Naugatuck boys with double victories in the high jump at 6 feet, 2 inches and the long jump at 22-0.25, setting a new NVL record in the latter. Williams was named the meet’s outstanding senior, outstanding meet performer and best in the field.

Jamaal Gee was named outstanding sprinter/hurdler as he raced to victory twice for the Greyhounds, winning the 55-meter dash in 6.75 seconds and winning the 300 meters in a time of 37.43 seconds.

Despite the great individual performances, Watertown won the NVL title with a team total of 91 points and Naugatuck—for the second year in a row—had to settle for second place with 82 points after a controversial disqualification in the 4-by-400 relay that cost the Hounds the title.

“Our guy got knocked off stride when another runner cut him off,” Naugatuck head coach Ralph Roper said. “He lost his footing and raised his arms to try and keep his balance and they ruled he had obstructed the other runners and we were disqualified. I didn’t find out about it ‘til I got home and received an e-mail of their decision. I really don’t quite understand it but that’s the way it is.”

Muad Hrezi raced to victory in the 1,000 with a time of 2:40.26 but didn’t compete in the 1,600 or 3,200, opting to rest up for the state meet.

Nick Moriello earned a third-place finish in the 1,000 in 2:41.80 and Thomas Mashia took fourth in the 600 with a time of 1:30.00.

The 1,600 sprint relay squad of Colin Reilly, Isaque Monteiro, Mashia and Moriello raced to a third-place finish in a time of 4:00.70.

Naugatuck took fourth in the 4-by-200 relay with Thomas O’Brien, Jake Simons, Reilly and Monteiro coming in with a time of 1:43.35.

The 4-by-800 relay of Simons, Patrick Alves, Reilly and Luis Carvalho took fourth with a time of 9:02.07.

Roper was pleased with the team’s performance, acknowledging the problem posed by the postponed NVL meet and the state competition being just two days apart.

“I thought we did well in spite of the fact that we had the Class L meet scheduled so soon after the league meet,” Roper said. “We needed to rest up some of our athletes for the big picture, which is the state meet.”

The Greyhounds put up a strong effort in the Class L led by Williams, who won both the high jump at 6-2 and the long jump at 23-3.

Naugatuck's Jamal Gee races his way around the track during the NVL championship Feb. 9. Gee was named outstanding sprinter/hurdler for the meet. PHOTO BY LARAINE WESCHLER

Hrezi put together a second-place finish in the 1,000 in 2:37.07 and a third-place mark in the 3,200 at 9:53.47.

Gee raced to a fifth-place showing in the 55 in 6.76 seconds and the 4-by-200 relay team of O’Brien, Gee, Mashia and Williams took third in 1:36.07. Colton Wagner placed eighth in the pole vault with an effort of 10 feet.

“As a team I thought we did very well in the Class L meet,” said Roper. “We are taking quite a few athletes to the State Open and from there we will prepare for the New England championship meet.”

As for the ladies, Shannon Hale led the way in the NVL championship meet, taking two second-place finishes. Hale was second in the 300 with a time of 43.93 seconds and took second in the 600 in 1:47.09.

Jordyn Allen came on strong with a pair of second-place finishes in the 1,600 at 5:58.75 and the 3,200 at 13:10.24.

Melissa Labonte placed third in the long jump at 15-9 and third in the high jump at 4-6.

The 1,600 sprint relay team of Jocelyn Brantley, Cristina Sendra, Georgette Nixon and Gabrielle Moriello raced to a second-place finish in a time of 4:58.97.

The 4-by-800 relay team of Labonte, Moriello, Becky Renzoni and Sendra finished second with a time of 10:48.77. The foursome also was the only Naugy score to break into the top 10 at the Class L meet, finishing seventh with an effort of 10:42.00.

The State Open will be held Saturday at 12 p.m. at the New Haven Athletic Center.