Naugatuck pushes through for fifth
BEACON FALLS — It’s getting to be almost old hat for the Woodland boys track team.
The Hawks won their second straight Naugatuck Valley League outdoor track championship meet Tuesday on their home track to cap another dominant run through the league’s track season.
Woodland’s 131.5 points were nearly 60 points more than any other team. Watertown finished second with 75 while Derby was third with 72. Naugatuck placed fifth with 61.5 points.
“We put together a pretty good lineup,” Woodland boys coach Tim Shea said. “We always try to maximize our points and I think we did that.”
The Hawks took six events on the day, including two of the three relays. Usually Woodland dominates the 4-by-400-meter relay, but with the team’s strengths in the 4-by-800 and 4-by-100 this year, the coaching staff decided to disperse the top mid-distance runners to concentrate on other events.
“We ran a 4-by-400 team just to get some points because we put guys usually on those teams in other events to get us other points early,” said Jeff Lownds, Woodland’s relays coach.
The 4-by-800 and 4-by-100 squads started off the meet with victories. Ian Chamenko, Nick Hebert, Jack Pinho and Andy Hale won the 4-by-800 in 8 minutes, 15.12 seconds, before Nick LaPerriere, Rahmi Rountree, Hunter Watford and Jason Rodrigues took the 4-by-100 in 44.15 seconds.
“As the relay coach, our relay teams were outstanding,” Lownds said. “I’m not much for superlatives, but they were really outstanding.”
Mike Lang, the area’s top jumper, was a double winner. After going for broke and fouling out on all three of his long jump attempts, he rallied to win the high jump (6 feet) and triple jump (44-7.5).
“I’m really proud of Mike for bouncing back,” Lownds said. “He was disappointed by fouling out in the long jump but he did a great job to come back and win his two other jumps. That’s a champion’s effort.”
With each athlete only being allowed to compete in three events, Woodland’s coaching staff decided to keep Lang in the field rather than allowing him to run in the 4-by-100 relay. They replaced him with Rodrigues, which to Shea showcased the Hawks’ superior depth.
“We have some depth and that helps,” Shea said. “People always say that we win because we have depth, and that’s good. Jason Rodrigues ran the 4-by-100 instead of Mike and we won.”
LaPerriere won the 400 in 49.99 seconds, nearly 2 seconds ahead of the field, and Levi Fancher won the Hawks’ other individual medal by taking the javelin (160-6).
Rahmi Rountree was second in both the 100 and 200, falling short by less than two-tenths of a second in both races. Pinho pushed through an injury he suffered in the 4-by-800 relay to finish second in the 1,600 and fifth in the 800, earning points in both.
“He really gutted it out to get us some points,” Shea said.
Brett Fowler and James Giacomazzi both scored in the 110 and 300 hurdles. Watford earned points in the 100 and triple jump and Dave LaChance was third in the discus.
Naugatuck suffered a tough day, earning only one event win in the 4-by-400 relay. Patrick Alves, Justin Jimenez, Isaque Monteiro and Collin Reilly won the final event of the day in 3:34.77.
“They did a nice job,” Naugatuck coach Ralph Roper said. “Unfortunately it was one of those days. There weren’t a lot of positive things going on from our side. I had to pull out some kids with heat-related injuries.”
Mick Pernell placed inside the top six of both sprints while Nate Buie was fourth in the 100. Reilly and Jimenez both scored in the 400, duplicating the feat achieved by Dan Schumacher and Michael Uva in the 3,200. Alves and Monteiro did the same in the 300 hurdles.
Roper was particularly pleased by the effort of senior Jonathan Pysna in the pole vault. He finished tied for seventh with a career-best height of 10 feet.
“He couldn’t even clear 5 feet in the indoor season,” Roper said. “To see how he’s evolved over the season is unbelievable. That’s what track and field is all about. We just want to get the best out of our kids and he’s done that.”