Naugatuck track and field sweeps NVL meet




The Naugatuck boys and girls track teams won the NVL championship together for the first time since 2010. The boys scored 132 team points with Woodland finishing as runner-up with 98. WCA finished third with 93 points and Derby placed fourth at 85.

On the girls side, three teams broke the 100-point mark with Naugatuck piling on 181.50 points. Woodland was the runner-up with 138.50 points while Watertown finished a distant third with 114.

“We capped off an undefeated season for the boys and girls with an even more impressive run to win both titles for the first time in over 10 years,” said Naugy coach Ralph Roper. “Both the boys and girls teams showed an equal amount of depth and star power to come out victorious. Lauren Kropo set three league meet records on her way to being named the Outstanding Sprinter and Most Outstanding Female Athlete.

“Jayden Bartelle led the boys to a fourth NVL title in a row winning the high jump, triple jump and a third place showing in the javelin. It was a good day on the track for the Greyhounds.”

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There were some challenges right from the start with the Watertown girls showing their strength in the relays and the WCA boys (10-2) making some strong finishes.

Then the Greyhounds’ overall depth started to show up. Three things took place to send the girls to the championship podium. First, the freshman Kropo not only won the 100, 200 and 400 races; she set all new league records (12.20, 25.50, 57.49) on her way to scoring 30 points for her team.

“There are a lot of real good athletes here and I just wanted to give my team the best chance possible by doing the very best I could,” said Kropo. “I’m proud of how I did and even more (proud) of how my teammates came together and did their best against some pretty strong competition.”

Woodland and Watertown were putting up a strong fight until Naugy leaped past everyone. The Greyhounds outscored Woodland, 43-5, in the hurdles, marking the second thing that turned the tide. Lily Jason (15.64), Divine Kabongo and Serene Parker finished second, third and fourth in the 100-meter hurdles, and that got Naugy headed in the right direction.

The 1-2-3 finish in the 300 hurdles with Kabongo (first, 47.70), Jason (second) and Parker (third) ended all doubt. It certainly didn’t hurt to have a solid group of field athletes with Jason winning the triple jump (35 feet), Jaesah Perry finishing second (4 feet, 10 inches) and Wilnye Joseph third in the high jump (4-8), and Wilnye and Chloe Tome claiming third in the pole vault (8-0).

Lauren Sonski won the 800 (2:25), finished second in the 400 (1:00.22), and helped the 4×400 relay team of Leticia DoNascimento, Jeziah Ramos and Ariana Acevedo finish with a winning time of 4:17.40. The 4×800 relay team of DoNascimento, Sydney Connolly, Ramos and Gwen Marenghi placed third.

The third factor that sent Naugy over the top was the throwing team of Brianna Rubas (fourth, discus), Ayanna Williams (fifth, shot put) and Indya Waller (sixth, shot put) was enough to counter and outscore Woodland, 12-5, in throwers that didn’t place in the top three.

The Naugy boys racked up 26 points from Bartelle, who took first in high jump (6-4), first in triple jump (42-09) and third in javelin (136-07). Brendan Lyles finished second in the 400 (51.05) and third in the 800 (2:05). Eliezar Pena finished third in the 300 hurdles (42.35). Shayne Hasipi was first in the 1,600 (4:38) and fourth in the 3,200. Hasipi combined with Jason Costa (second in the 1,600 and third in the 3,200) to help the Hounds go the distance.

“There (were) a lot of real good competitors,” said Hasipi. “I have been battling with an injury and just went out and did the best I could to give us a chance.”

Two second place relays helped the Greyhounds get over the finish line. The 4×400 relay team of Lyles, Jack Healy, Zach McCasland and Dan Anderson (second, 3:32) and the 4×800 team of Healy, Joe Cervone, McCasland and Hasipi (second, 8:26) gave the Hounds their best chance to win.

Naugy was set to take on all competitors at the Class LL state meet at Willow Brook Park in New Britain on Wednesday.