BY KEN MORSE
When it comes to track and field there are many accomplished athletes throughout the NVL that have the talent and the experience to bring home an NVL title in their individual event.
As far as teams competing for the NVL title, there really is two clear cut favorites on both the boys and the girls sides heading into the showdown that will take place at Torrington High School on May 21.
The Naugatuck boys and girls entered the final week of the regular season unbeaten (12-0) in the NVL. Woodland boys and girls (10-1) are nipping at their heels ever since the first meet of the season when the Naugy boys (96-54) and girls (78-72) came out on top.
When both teams mosey up to the starting line at the NVL championship there will be plenty of competition to join the fray. On the boys side, Holy Cross, Seymour and Derby will have much to say in the final tally.
On the girls side it will be a little bit closer with Seymour and Holy Cross, plus four teams that had six wins: Torrington, Wolcott, Watertown and Derby. All eyes will be on the battle between Naugy and Woodland.
“We don’t take anyone for granted,” said Naugatuck coach Ralph Roper. “At the end of the day it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. We train hard and we execute and that is the game plan heading into this championship meet.”
Naugy brings to the table several athletes that can rack up a fair amount of points with multiple top finishes. On the boys side Lalo Lopez (200, 400), Dan Anderson (110, 300 hurdles), Shayne Hasipi (800, 1600), Matt Nofri (1600, 3200), Taylor Trowers (200, 300 hurdles), Jett Hall (long jump, triple jump) and Steve Herb (javelin, discus) have all been double winners for the Hounds this season.
Allison Murphy has been a consistent triple winner (200, 100 and 300 hurdles) for the Naugy girls and at times has taken four first place finishes. Lauren Sonski (800, 1600, 3200) and Lily Jason (100, long jump, triple jump) have also been triple winners with Julia Kropo (400, javelin), along with Alyssa Jones and Ayana Williams, in the throws being double winner threats.
“I still consider our team a work in progress,” said Woodland coach Jeff Lownds. “As a staff we are still figuring things out working with different lineups to get the most out of our efforts come championship time.”
The Woodland boys can really pack a punch, led by Eric Meade, a threat in four events (110 hurdles, high jump, long jump, triple jump). Colin Slavin goes the distance as a triple threat (800, 1600, 3200) with Alex Farr (400, 800) and Brain Babo (shot put, discus) both being double winners this season.
The girls are led by Chloe Poulos (800, 1600, 3200), a consistent triple winner this season. Sarah Cooley is another triple threat in the throws as is Sara Alessio in the jumps. Paige Letourneau (100, 200) turns on the speed in the sprints and Laci Davis can clear the height and the distance in the jumps.
“We have some athletes that can carry us in three events like Colin Slavin and Chloe Poulos,” said Lownds, “but you can only win this meet if you have some depth. There are a lot of real good athletes in this league that are going to score points, but it will come down to depth.”
It will all come down to team depth and the diversity that each team can bring to the starting line. When all is said and done the team that can go the distance will be the team that wears the crown in the NVL.
BY KEN MORSE