Greyhounds seek balance on the track

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NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck indoor track teams are shaping up as contenders for the upcoming Naugatuck Valley League championship meet to be held later this month.

The Greyhounds put up some solid numbers at the recent Hillhouse Relays on Dec. 28.

“We have a lot more speed on the team than we’ve had in years past,” Naugatuck head coach Ralph Roper said. “We have a few more meets before the NVL championships and we would like to see a little more balance. The pole vault, hurdles and high jump is where we need to put our focus on to get a little more balance.”
The boys team excelled at the Hillhouse Relays with the 4-by-400-meter relay squad of Patrick Alves, Brian Reilly, Colin Reilly and Isaque Monteiro placing third out of 31 schools in 3 minutes, 46.62 seconds.
The 4-by-800 squad of Colin Reilly, Alves, Danny Silva and Dan Schumacher also took third place with an effort of 8:47.65.

The girls team had a good showing, placing fourth in the distance medley relay with Lindsay
Thoren, Harmony Sturdivant, Samantha Hilse and Jordyn Allen putting up a time of 14:17.79.

“We have a very skilled boys team with 18 seniors,” Roper said. “But on the girls side we are very young. We have 10 to 12 sophomores, 10 freshmen and about seven upperclassmen. But I’m very encouraged with the athletes we do have.”

A few of those youngsters have particularly caught Roper’s eye.

“Ariana Alvarado is only a freshman but she is ranked in the top 10 in Class L in the sprints,” he said. “We have another couple of freshmen who are certainly an investment for the future of this program. Jill Orts has been making steady progress and Courtney Morin has improved her times. I expect big things from those two, if not this season then next year.”

In the individual events, Brianna Ritter took fourth in the shot put with a heave of 29 feet, 7 inches. Quiana Stanley finished eighth with a toss of 27-6.

On the boys side, Michael Johnson put up a season-best throw of 34-2 ½, good for 22nd among 48 competitors. Mike D’Agnone, in his first shot put competition, had an effort of 33-11 inches, while Austin Wagner achieved a mark of 29-9.

The ‘Hounds didn’t even have their best throwers going at that meet, but Roper said it will be important to get production in the field events.

“Two of the team leaders didn’t compete at Hillhouse. James SanAngelo had thrown over 40 feet this season and Jack Reardon has thrown over 35 feet,” Roper said. “That’s what we are going to need at the NVL championships. You can’t have 30 kids running the sprints and relays. We need some balance and we need to start developing those other skills.”

The Greyhounds have a few potential candidates. Corey Andrew finished sixth in the high jump at 5-6 and Kyle Philson was 10th in the long jump with a leap of 18-5 ¾. On the girls side, Sturdivant finished fifth in the long jump with an effort of 14-8.

The 4-by-200 boys relay team of Nathaniel Buie, Brian Reilly, Enrique DeJesus and Monteiro placed seventh in 1:41.65.
In the distance medley the foursome of John Caruso, Marcuss Ruff, Brody Hale and Pat McMahon finished 10th in 12:45.60.

“The boys team is in pretty good shape as far as distance runners and sprinters,” Roper said. “The goal is to get the team in the best possible shape as far as balance goes to give us the best chance to be successful.”

The 4-by-400 girls relay team also came through with a promising effort, finishing 11th with the team of Carla Soares, Melissa Goja, Regina Roper and Alvarado crossing the finish line in 4:49.86.

“I know on the girls side we have some diamonds in the rough,” Roper said. “We want to try and get them to shine by the time the NVL championship rolls around.”

The league title meet will be held at Hillhouse Athletic Complex on Jan. 29. Both Naugy teams finished second to Woodland last winter.