Naugy boys chase down championship

The Naugatuck boys cross country team won the Naugatuck Valley League championship Oct. 18 at Veterans Park in Watertown. -ELIO GUGLIOTTI

WATERTOWN — With all seven runners placing in the top 20, the Naugatuck boys easily outdistanced the competition to win the Naugatuck Valley League cross country championship Oct. 18 at Veterans Park.

The Greyhounds finished the regular season 14-0 and won the title — their ninth overall — with 35 points, well ahead of second-place Woodland (87) and third-place Watertown (117).

“We had four in the top 10 and all seven finished in the top 20, and that is probably a first for us,” Naugatuck head coach Bill Hanley said. “I credit my coaching staff of assistant Joe Teixeira and volunteer coaches Bill Gordon, Brady Hale and Josh Perry. They really got the kids motivated and we had a different finish order in every race this year; that’s how close they were competitively.”

Brendon Soubannarath finished third (17:29.9) to lead the ‘Hounds and was named the league’s most outstanding senior.

“I got most of my motivation from it’s my senior year,” Soubannarath told the Republican-American. “We have been working for it all season. I’m really proud of the team. It was a total team effort.”

Charley Marenghi (fifth, 17:39) and Jon Volpe (sixth, 17:45) earned All-NVL honors along with Soubannarath.

Three more Greyhounds earned All-Iron Division: Matt Nofri (ninth, 18:09), Bryce Cegielski (12th, 18:13) and Chris Cook (16th, 18:35). Jayshawn Lindsay (18th, 18:42) finished out the scoring for Naugy.

“It was balance of cooperation and competition,” Hanley said. “The cooperation of everyone pulling for each other and the competition of seven guys going to the line wanting to be number one.”

The Naugatuck girls (8-6) finished eighth with 210 points. Julia Kropo finished 17th (22:13) to lead the Greyhounds. Lauren Rupsis (33rd, 23:57) was the second Naugy runner to cross the finish line, as both she and Kropo knocked close to a minute off their time from last year.

Viola Cermenika (56th, 26:14), Isabella Rafala (58th, 26:22), Alyssa Jones (61st, 26:29), Caitlin Doris (63rd, 26:46) and Gina Conforti (65th, 26:55) rounded out the scoring for Naugatuck.

Naugatuck will compete in the Class L state meet Saturday at Wickham Park in Manchester.