NAUGATUCK — What goes up must come down.
That was the basis of the thoughts running through Naugatuck runner Muad Hrezi’s mind as he tirelessly climbed hill after hill Tuesday.
Hrezi finished first overall in the boy’s cross country meet Tuesday at NHS with a blazing time of 17:33, just three seconds off the course record.
Battling the heat, and one of the toughest courses in the state, Hrezi envisioned himself running down hill, because, even though it felt like miles away, he knew all the running up meant he would come down soon.
“I was hurting going up the hills,” Hrezi said. “They were really killing me; I was starting to get pains in my stomach. I was just telling myself to think once I get up this hill, its going to be so much easier to come back down. That’s all I had going through my mind, coming down from the hill.”
Naugatuck boy’s finished first in the tri-meet beating Wolcott 25-30 and Kennedy 18-43. The Greyhound girls’ split their race beating Kennedy 25-33 but falling to Wolcott 21-34.
The course at NHS starts and ends with a lap around the track, but for the majority of the race runners are behind the school running up and down hills in the woods. The wooded area of the course is grueling and harsh on runner’s legs and stamina. It is also the main reason the appearances of runners upon entering the woods compared to their reemergence from the clearing are extremely divergent.
“This is as hard as any course in the state. It’s hard but it’s what prepares us so well for the state meets,” Hrezi said.
Coaches echoed the player’s sentiments.
“This is by far the most difficult course in the league,” said girls’ Cross Country Head Coach Keith Raczkowski. “It may be the most difficult in the state. It is mirrored off the times you see at the state competitions.”
Hrezi was followed by fellow Greyhound runner Nick Moriello, who finished second overall with a time of 18:12.
Naugatuck placed many runners in the top 25 including Simmons, 19:07, Uva 19:41, Morrill, 20:05, Lisakolsky 20:57, Alves, 21:25, Mahony 21:31, Wagner, 22:42, Williams 23:12 and Dorosh, 23:20.
Naugatuck Becky Renzoni finished second overall in the girls’ race and was the first Greyhound runner to cross the finish line. Renzoni sported a time of 21:09, just over two minutes behind the leader, Wolcott’s Cate Forte.
The next Naugatuck runner to cross the line was Samantha Hilse coming in eight with a time of 25:23. Other teammates to finish in the top 25 were Colella 28:21, Neumann, 29:27, Pezutti, 29:43, Beasley 30:44, Kaur 34:18 and Mahoney 34:43.
It looks to be a strong season for both the boys’ and the girls’ squad this season and their coaches are hoping their strong starts propel them to continued success.
“We’re improving everyday and moving in a very good direction,” said Boys’ Cross Country Head Coach Bill Hanley. “I was happy with or success against a strong Wolcott team today. We still have work to do, but we’ve gotten off to a pretty awesome start.”
Raczkowski echoed Hanley’s hopes.
“We want to be competitive in all the races,” Raczkowski said. “I was pleased will all of there times today, we all finished and we ran hard, it was a good early season result.”