BY KEN MORSE
The Naugatuck boys cross country team came into the NVL championship race with a league-best 12-1 record. Repeating as the NVL runner-up was not out of the question, but the hope was for an NVL title.
The girls team put up its best record in well over a decade, sporting an 11-2 mark, but with only five runners there was no alternative plan. All five would need to rise to the occasion and that’s exactly what took place on a cool, crisp autumn day at Veterans Memorial Park in Watertown on Oct. 19.
“Every girl on the team had personal best times,” said Naugy coach Kevin Schumann. “Even Chloe (Tome). She knocked two minutes off her time and without that we would not be runner-up. It was a total team effort and I’m so proud of what they accomplished this season.”
The Naugy girls took the field by storm and landed an NVL runner-up finish for the first time in 14 years. It was the Greyhounds’ best showing since a third place finish in 2012. Lily Dalton earned All-NVL status with her third place finish, the highest finish in a decade for the girls team.
“I’m proud of myself and my team,” said Tome. “We are only a team of five but we have each others’ back. We knew if we came out here and did the very best that we could do that good things would happen.”
The boys team, compiling a combined 22-3 record in two years under Schumann, raced to a NVL runner-up as well with Shayne Hasipi and Brendan Lyles earning All-NVL honors.
“I couldn’t ask anything more of this boys team,” said Schumann. “Brendan had never run under 18 minutes, Zach was never under 18:30, the Dalton boys both came in at 19 minutes and Shayne fought off a competitor at the finish line, it was a good all-around day.”
Holy Cross won the boys championship, scoring 61 points with four runners in the top 15, and Naugy had three in the top 10, scoring 70 points. Watertown was a distant third, scoring 91 points with Alex Cole winning the race by 11 seconds over Hasipi.
“I had a real good pace at the beginning,” said Hasipi. “I was with the kid from Watertown after the first mile but he just started to pull away. It came down to a race for second place and I was able to hold off the kid from St. Paul.”
Seymour won the girls race hands down, scoring 56 points with Peyton Dauphinais and Lily Moir taking first and second. Naugy was second with 70 points while Woodland placed third with 83.
“I was real pleased at my performance,” said Lily Dalton. “Last year I was in 18th place so to get All-NVL honors I couldn’t ask for anything more. My teammates all had personal best times and it feels so great to be NVL runner-up with a team of just five girls. It just goes to how you what you can accomplish when you come together.”
The Naugy top finishers on the boys team were Hasipi (second place, 17:34); Lyles (seventh place, 17:58); Zach McCasland (10th place 18:11); Eddie Dalton (21st place, 19:00) and Luke Dalton (30th place, 19:28).
“I feel this is the best I could do and as a freshman to finish in the top 10, it’s really rewarding,” said Marenghi. “Working with Lily (Dalton) and Jayda (Costa) every day really helped me to improve. There’s nothing worse than losing it at the end so I have been really focusing on sprinting the last 300 yards and it has helped to take minutes off my time.”
The girls top finishers were Dalton (third place, 21:35); Gwen Marenghi (10th place, 22:26); Jayda Costa (12th place, 22:32); Lauren Kropo (14th place, 22:47) and Chloe Tome (31st place 24:34).
BY KEN MORSE