‘Hounds blend youth with experience

The Naugatuck cross country team will be lead this season by captains, from left, Austin Herb, Lauren Rupsis and Benjamin Healy. –LUKE MARSHALL

NAUGATUCK — Over the years, the Greyhounds have lived up to their namesake when it comes to cross country.

The boys team has put together runs of four straight NVL cross country titles twice in the 14 years that head coach Bill Hanley has been at the helm.

Last year, the boys team finished third in the NVL, while the girls finished eighth.

This season, the boys will look to find success with a mix of youth and experience.

“We have a lot of talented freshmen and sophomores,” Hanley said. “We also have a good number of upperclassmen and our senior captains, Austin Herb and Ben Healy, are doing a great job showing them what it takes to be successful in this sport.”

Along with Herb and Healy, seniors Will Daly, Sean Evardo, Dave Garces, Brendan Kerns, Raymond Lucarelli, Yeshe Rakagme and Ezequiel Valencia will lead the way.

Juniors Charles Marenghi, Connor Behuniak, Bryce Cegielski, Brendon Soubannarath, Joe Macary, Ethan Lopes and Antonio Colon are looking to take it up a notch.

The boys have a stable of underclassmen including sophomores Jon Chatfield, Chris Cook, Daniel Fine Ken Healy, Peter Mullin, Justin Stone, Hunter Teixeira and Jonathan Volpe.

Joining the ‘Hounds this year are freshmen Steven Herb, Matt Nofri, Anthony Abate, Chance Conklin, Tenzin Dhondup, Matthew Kilmer and Jay’Shawn Lindsay.

According to Hanley, this year’s girls team is one of the most talented groups he’s seen in years.

Led by junior captain Lauren Rupsis, the Greyhounds will also have senior leadership with Brianna Soubannarath, Evelyn Diaz and Kimani Grey.

“Lauren has been tireless in showing the girls the tremendous amount of hard work necessary to be successful in long distance running,” Hanley said. “Abbey Lombardi, a top-ten finisher in last year’s NVL championship, and Caitlin Doris are experienced juniors and are ready to show the new teammates what ‘right’ looks like.

“The girls are working hard to improve on last year’s finish. Diaz, from spring track, and Julia Kropo, from middle school, are looking as though they could make a positive contribution right out of the gate.”

Lombardi, Doris and Rupsis will be key contributors, along with up-and-coming juniors Daniella Acevedo, Samantha Styles, Sara Tarmey and Letacianna Stoudmire.

Sophomores Brittany Soubannarath and Gina Conforti got varsity experience last year and will look to contribute along with sophomore Faith Descheen and freshmen Alyssa Jones and Victoria Weng.

Naugatuck gets the season underway Sept. 11 at Hop Brook against Crosby, Derby and Holy Cross.