Girls take third at NVL track championship
NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck boys track team pulled off the trifecta by winning the NVL championship meet May 27 at Naugatuck High.
The boys finished off a school year of competition as the NVL cross country, indoor track and outdoor track champions.
The Greyhounds faced some stiff competition in Derby, the NVL regular season champions, and the three-time defending NVL champions from Woodland. Naugatuck went the distance compiling 133 team points. Derby placed second with 108 points and Woodland took third with 99 points.
“The guys made it happen,” Naugatuck head coach Ralph Roper said. “We knew we would be in it and coach Bill Hanley did a great job with our distance guys.”
Crosby owned the sprints and finished fourth as a team. However, once the distance portion of the meet came about the Greyhounds lived up to their namesake and blew away the competition.
Junior Mark Zamani (2:03.27) and sophomore Graden Beasley (2:05.13) finished one and two, respectively, in the 800. That was just the start of Naugatuck’s dominance in the distance.
Naugatuck made sure they got everyone’s attention when they grabbed all three top spots in the 1,600. Zamani raced to his second victory with a pace of 4:39.83. Senior Brody Hale was right in the shadows with a second-place finish of 4:39.92. Beasley crossed the finish line at 4:42.79 for third place.
Hale went on to win first in the 3,200 in 10:22.41 as the Greyhounds forged a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Senior Brian Reilly made his presence felt finishing second in the 300 hurdles and third in the 110 hurdles. Junior Fejiro Onakpoma had a second-place leap in the triple jump.
“Our distance guys were dedicated and motivated to do what ever they could to put us out in front,” Roper said. “We also got a lot of help from the field guys with Reilly and Onakpoma scoring some big points for us.”
There was no denying the first-place ability of senior Mike Popescu, who out jumped the competition by a foot in the long jump with an effort of 20 feet, 4.25 inches.
The Greyhounds closed the door on the NVL championship meet title as the 4×100 relay squad of Jalen Datil, Reilly, Mike Nanadoum and Popescu blazed a first-place trail in 44.27.
“There were a lot of positive performances,” Roper said. “Not only did the distance guys come through, our 4×100 relay team turned in a dominating performance.”
The Naugatuck girls team finished third at the championship meet with 78 points. The Woodland girls won the meet with 135 points and Seymour finished second with 105 points.
“Unlike the boys team we didn’t have an awful lot of depth in the distance runs,” Roper said. “We had a lot of freshman and sophomores and didn’t have one runner break into the top eight that would have generated some points for us.”
The Greyhounds didn’t come away empty-handed as they had strong efforts from junior Ariana Alvarado and senior Harmony Sturdivant.
Alvarado finished third in the 100 at 12.86 and the 400 at 1:03.68. Sturdivant won the triple jump at 33 feet, 8 inches and placed second in the long jump at 15 feet, 6 inches.
In a surprise showing, sophomore Erin Schofield won the javelin with a toss of 106 feet, 3 inches.
“Erin had a great performance for us,” Roper said. “Ariana and Harmony both put up some big points for us. But it was in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 that we didn’t score anything and that was the difference in the meet.”