Holding pattern

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Editor’s note: The NVL indoor track championship on Sunday, Feb. 8 has been postponed.

NVL track meet pushed back, states await

The snowstorms that have swept across the state in the last two weeks have created havoc to high school athletic schedules, including the NVL indoor track championship that was scheduled for Tuesday.

The meet that will decide the league championship is now set for Sunday at the Floyd Little Athletic Center on the campus of Hillhouse High School in New Haven.

According to which coach is asked, the postponement can be a blessing in disguise or it can make no difference at all as far as state competition is concerned.

“It doesn’t create an advantage or disadvantage for any team because we are all in the same situation,” said Naugatuck head coach Ralph Roper, who along with assistant coach Bill Hanley is getting the team prepared for the postseason meets. “No one has really been able to practice with the weather and schools being cancelled. If anything it does allow some of the athletes who have been trying to get over some nagging injuries to rest up. It’s an equal balance some athletes will benefit and some will not.”

Naugatuck finished in the middle of the pack last season with the boys team placing sixth at the NVLs and 19th at the Class L state meet. The girls finished fifth at the league championship and 22nd at the Class L meet.

The Woodland girls won their third NVL championship in a row last year, winning nine of the 15 events. They came in 21st in the Class S state meet. The Woodland boys finished as the NVL runner-up and were 9th in the Class S meet.

“I don’t think the postponement will have much of an effect,” said Woodland girls indoor track coach Jeff Lownds, who along with boys coach Tim Shea is putting their teams through the paces. “I don’t see that the extra time will benefit any of our athletes as far as qualifying for the states. We might have one or two more sneak in with times at the NVLs, but for the most part we have the athletes who have qualified already.”

After the NVLs on Sunday, Naugatuck and Woodland will have a few days to get ready for states.

The Woodland boys will compete in the Class S meet on Feb. 12, while the girls are set to take part in the Class M meet on Feb. 14. The Naugy boys and girls teams will compete in the Class L meet on Feb. 13.

One of those athletes to watch out for wearing the black and gold is Woodland senior Jazmyn Menzies. She is the defending NVL champion in the long jump and the high jump and placed in the state open in the high jump last season.

The Woodland girls will also have Christine and Michelle Angrand in the 55 hurdles, Haleigh Resnick in the 300 meters, Kelsey Mitchell in the 1,000 and 3,200 meters and Clara Drozdowski in the 1,000 meters.

Abbey Rosato has qualified in the shot put. Courtney Jurzynski and Megan Lynch will also make their presence felt at states in the high jump and pole vault, respectively.

Woodland senior Drew Chura is the defending NVL champion in the pole vault and will lead the boys squad into states that has also qualified Tom Bethin and James Yacavone in the 300 meters. Jeff Moffat has qualified in the 600 meters and Jeff Giusto will represent the team’s long distance threat in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters.

The Naugatuck boys will be pinning their hopes on senior Dan Schumacher, last year’s NVL champion in the 1,600. He went on to the state open after finishing fourth in the 1,600 and seventh in the 3,200 at the Class L meet.

The Greyhounds live up to their namesake with a powerful core of runners with Brian Reilly qualifying in three events, the 55 hurdles along with the 300 and 600 meters. Mark Zamani is another workhorse and has qualified in four events the 600, 1,000, 1,600 and 3,200.

Brody Hale in the 3,200, Mike Popescu in the high jump and Will Paul in the shot put are also threats for Naugatuck as the Greyhounds try to improve on last year’s finish.

The Naugatuck girls have one returning athlete who made her presence felt at the Class L meet last year in junior Jasmine Grey. She finished seventh in the high jump. Grey has also qualified in the 55 meter dash.

Naugatuck will show a little more depth in the states than last year and that should add up to some team points.

The Greyhounds will look to Ariana Alvarado to provide the speed in the 55 dash and the 300 meters. Carla Soares will be the Hounds best chance in the 55 hurdles with Harmony Sturdivant in the 600 meters. Naugatuck will look to make a strong showing in the 300 meters with four athletes Heyi Cheng, Alvarado, Grey and Sturdivant qualifying.

“I would expect us to have a better showing in both the boys and the girls teams,” Roper said. “We have a lot of first time track athletes who are seniors and they want to leave a lasting impression.”