By Ken Morse, Citizen’s News
WATERTOWN — The Naugatuck boys cross country pulled out all the stops at the Naugatuck Valley League cross country championships Oct. 20, landing four runners in the top 20 to place second.
The Greyhounds tallied 73 points to finish runner-up behind Woodland (36 points) at Veterans Park.
“We knew Woodland was going to be tough,” Naugatuck head coach Kevin Schumann said. “They are so talented with those guys up front, they are very tough to beat.”
“To their credit they (Woodland) showed up, they really did,” he added. “But we had a really good day. We had more of a pack in our varsity group than we normally do. Which was really important.”
Shayne Hasipi finished 11th (18:36) to lead Naugatuck, along with Matt Nofri 12th (18:42), Brendan Lyles 15th (18:52) and Zach McCasland 16th (19:05). All four runners were named to the All-Iron team.
“He’s (Hasipi) been banged up for pretty much the whole season but he gritted out a tough race and turned in his best time of the season,” Schumann said. “Our JV boys won, so that bodes well for the future of the team.”
The Naugatuck girls finished fourth with 120 points. Derby won the championship with 44 points.
The girls were paced by Jayda Costa 16th (23:20), Julia Kropo 17th (23:39) and Lily Dalton 18th (23:43). All three were named to the All-Iron team.
“I was very pleased at how the girls ran,” Schumann said. “Almost every girl that ran in the varsity race had season best times. We really peaked at the right time. Even our freshman, Lily, made great improvements throughout the season.”
“I think we did so well with a fourth-place finish is because we finished in a pack,” he added. “Alyssa Jones wasn’t too far back, as well. We are only graduating Julia and Alyssa on the girls’ side, so I think we have a bright future for this team.”
The Naugy boys and girls both won the Iron Division titles.
The Greyhounds will be back in action on Oct. 30 at the Class L state meet at Wickham Park in Manchester.