Hounds win the battles, Hawks win the war

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BEACON FALLS — In track and field, sometimes wins don’t equal wins.

The Naugatuck boys won a meet-high nine events Tuesday but Woodland’s five wins and consistency in each event helped the Hawks to an 82-68 win over the Greyhounds in what has become one of the perennially most competitive meets in the Naugatuck Valley League.

Both teams also beat Crosby in the tri-meet. Woodland trumped the Bulldogs, 95-55, while Naugatuck won, 90-60.
Woodland (9-0), which is usually its strongest in the three relay events, didn’t win any relays as Crosby won the 4-by-100 and 4-by-400 meters while Naugatuck’s (8-1) team of Nick Moriello, Jake Simons, Patrick Alves, and Muad Hrezi won the 4-by-800 in 8 minutes, 19 seconds.

Still, Woodland boys coach Tim Shea was pleased with the performances of the relay teams, especially the 4-by-800 squad.

“We ran an 8:20 in our 4-by-800 today,” Shea said. “I know Naugy won the race, but we ran well. We challenged the kids yesterday in practice and they responded.”

The Hawks turned in strong individual performances throughout the meet as five athletes earned victories. Ian Bures won the 110 hurdles in 17.3 seconds while Eric Dietz won the 400 in 51.8 seconds and Tim Madormo finished first in the 300 with a time of 43.5 seconds. In the field, Scott Lang won the javelin with a toss of 158 feet, 11 inches, and younger brother Michael Lang won the long jump with a leap of 19-2.

Those victories, combined with depth in most events, helped the Hawks stay unbeaten in the regular season. Shea credited all athletes for hard work so far, but recognized a few in particular.

“This year, Michael Lang is emerging as a pretty good sprinter along with Craig Genz, who has been here for four years,” Shea said. “Michael, as a freshman, is coming into his own. Our mid-crew is doing well, too, with Eric Dietz and Nick LaPerriere leading us.”

For Naugatuck, Amanze Williams won the triple jump (44-6) and the high jump (6-0) while Jamaal Gee took both the 100 (10.7 seconds) and the 200 (23.0 seconds). Other event winners included Moriello in the 800 (2:11) and 1,600 (4:46), Hrezi in the 3,200 (11:30), and Colton Wagner in the pole vault (11-6).

Naugatuck head coach Ralph Roper wasn’t able to attend the meet as he was on military orders in West Virginia, but he said he was following the meet after setting up lineups and scenarios with assistant coach Bill Hanley.

“Sometimes you have it and some days you don’t,” Roper said. “Unfortunately, today we didn’t have our best.”
Even though the ‘Hounds suffered their first loss of the season, Roper has been pleased with the hardworking personalities of those on the team.

“The maturity of the team is definitely a lot more succinct in terms of the guys,” Roper said. “They know what they want to do and they go out there to make it happen. It’s contagious. They want to have the same success as they see from the other kids who are out there working.”

Shea sees continuous improvement in his team, which lost a number of all-state athletes from last year’s division championship team.

“Every week we are getting better,” Shea said. “We did lose a lot from last year but we had a fairly good indoor season and added a few freshmen who are panning out quite nicely for us right now. We challenge the kids every week. We just plug kids into certain spots and we’re hitting our stride now.”

Woodland faces its most important test of the regular season on Tuesday when it travels to Watertown in the Hawks’ final Brass Division competition. Woodland is looking for its fourth straight division crown.

“Every week the meets are getting harder for us,” Shea said. “Next week is Watertown. That will be for the division championship. They are very good in the distance events but hopefully we match up pretty well. They have good individual events, too, so we’ll have to play a little bit of a chess match.”

Naugatuck still has a chance to win the Copper Division again with five division meets yet to be decided. The ‘Hounds host Kennedy and Sacred Heart on Tuesday before hosting Torrington on Thursday.

“Come NVL time, we will definitely be in a better position and hopefully poised to be successful,” Roper said. “That’s the goal for everyone. Based on what we have and some of our athletes maturing, I think we’ll do OK.”

Woodland, Naugatuck, and Crosby were set to compete in the girls meet on Wednesday.