MANCHESTER — The Naugatuck boys and girls cross country teams posted season-best numbers at last Saturday’s Class L state championship meet at Wickham Park in Manchester. All 14 runners had personal-best times as the boys placed seventh and the girls finished 12th.
“I was very pleased with our performance,” Naugatuck coach Bill Hanley said. “The course was a lot slower because of the conditions and the runners had to work a little harder. But we have practiced four times on the course this year and I think that was a big help in the team setting personal-best times.”
The Greyhounds both won Naugatuck Valley League Copper Division titles as the boys placed second the girls finished third at the league meet.
On the boys side, Darien won the Class L title with 87 points. Naugy’s 198 points were good for seventh.
Dan Schumacher, who finished third in the NVL, qualified for the State Open by placing 11th of 154 runners with a time of 17 minutes, 14 seconds.
“I don’t believe we ever had a runner qualify for the State Open as a freshman and a sophomore but Dan Schumacher is really a special runner for us,” Hanley said.
Mike Uva also broke the 18-minute mark with a time of 17:44, good for 21st place. Three Greyhounds topped the 19-minute mark with Collin Reilly (18:06, 36th), John Caruso (18:24, 52nd) and Brody Hale (18:56, 78th) achieving the feat.
Tyler Hayward finished 113th in 19:45 and Austin Ferreri finished in 20:37 for the 132nd spot.
“Our younger runners, five through seven, all beat their times by two minutes which helped our final standings,” Hanley said. “It was a great team effort.”
Wilton won the girls championship with 83 points. Naugatuck’s 349 points placed the Greyhounds 12th overall.
The girls were led by Jordyn Allen, the NVL’s fifth-place finisher who placed 36th of 132 runners in Class L with a time of 21:40.
“Jordyn really stayed under control and I think it was having the experience of running on this course three weeks ago at the [Wickham] Invitational meet,” Hanley said.
Samantha Hilse (52nd, 22:55), Harmony Sturdivant (76th, 23:25), Courtney Morin (88th, 23:54) and Madison Beasley (97th, 24:44) all broke into the top 100. Alexis Simmons finished 104th in 25:04 and Heyi Cheng was 112th in 25:55.
“The girls had to run without our No. 3 runner, Lindsey Thoren, who wasn’t able to participate,” Hanley said. “So it was a real team effort to finish where we did.”