Naugy boys put pieces together to win indoor title

The Naugatuck boys indoor track team won the Naugatuck Valley League championship Feb. 3 at the Floyd Little Athletic Complex in New Haven. –CONTRIBUTED

NEW HAVEN — It’s no coincidence that the Naugatuck boys followed up their Naugatuck Valley League boys cross country championship with another league title — this one in indoor track.

The Greyhounds consistently placed three runners in the top ten of the mid-distance and long distance runs Feb. 3 at the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven to win the championship with 79 points, ahead of runner-up Derby (70 points).

“That is what we were missing last year,” Naugy head coach Ralph Roper said. “This year after winning the cross country title they stuck together and worked hard to make it happen again.”

Jonny Volpe won the 1000 meters (2:39.53), and Bryce Cegielski finished fifth followed by Brendon Soubannarath in sixth. Chris Cook placed third in the 600 meters (1:33.12) and Chance Conklin finished sixth.

Matt Nofri finished third in the 1600 (4:52.51) and the 3200 (10:47.42). Charlie Marenghi ran a personal best 4:55.44 to place fifth in the 1600. In the 3200, Soubannarath placed sixth and Marenghi took seventh.

Senior Tyvias Dippelhofer also made his mark. Dippelhofer out threw two Derby athletes to win the shot put with a throw of 40 feet, 6 inches.

“Tyvias is the one athlete I’m most impressed with,” Roper said. “Two years ago he was barely breaking 30 feet. He is an extremely hard worker and all that hard work has paid off.”

Cameron Jacobs finished second in the 55 hurdles (8.65), and Leo’Angel Lopez took third in the 300 (38.03).

The boys 4×400 relay team of Lopez, Jacobs, Cegielski and Cook finished second (3:45.57), as did the sprint medley relay team of Matt Davy, Ethan Garcia, Conklin and Volpe (3:58.83).

In an odd turn of events, several teams were disqualified in the 4×800 relay when officials failed to notify relay teams of their final lap by not bringing up the final lap runners. That caused several teams to run an extra lap. Even with that extra lap Naugy would have finished third.

The confusion started when Naugy lapped the Watertown runners and officials didn’t realize what happened.

“What usually happens is when you are coming up on the last leg the officials will bring the kids out,” Roper said. “That didn’t happen so my kid kept on running. Holy Cross and Sacred Heart were disqualified as well for running one lap less. I did file a protest about the disqualification, but fortunately it didn’t impact the final outcome of the meet.”

The Naugy girls finished third with 71 points behind champion Woodland (115 points) and runner-up Seymour (102 points).

The girls shined in the relay races, where they placed first in three of the four relays.

“The girls came out strong winning the first two relays and that put us in a good position to do well,” Roper said. “We had five events with no one competing, so to finish third it was certainly a total team effort for the girls.”

The girls 4×200 team of Rachel Huculak, Liz Krooss, Emma Sonski and Kylie Neretich raced to victory in 1:51.63. The 4×800 team of Lauren Sonski, Julia Kropo, Allison Murphy and Tori Lawson posted a winning time of 10:45.77. The 1600 sprint medley relay team of Emma Sonski, Krooss, Lauren Rupsis and Lawson finished first in 4:49.87.

Murphy and Neretich led the way for the Greyhounds in the individual events.

Murphy won the 600 (1:41.83) and placed second in the 300 (43.51). Neretich took first in the 55 hurdles (9.10).

“Allison is by far one of the best athletes I have had in quite a few years,” Roper said. “She was upset for not winning the 300, but was just off the NVL record in the 600. She just needs to keep working hard and put things into perspective.”

“After a long day your legs get really tired and you have to give everything you can,” Murphy told the Republican-American after running the 300. “So even getting a PR was more than I could ask for.”

Murphy did better than she expected in winning the 600 against such tough competition.

“I was surprised because I get intimidated very easily,” she told the Republican-American. “Something I’ve been working on with my coaches is more confidence. Normally I shouldn’t be surprised, but I was.”

Other top-ten finishes for the Greyhounds included Lauren Sonski (sixth, 600), Huculak (seventh, 300), Kropo (fifth, 300), Rupsis (seventh, 1000) Daniella Acevedo (seventh, high jump) and Lawson (fifth, 600).

Naugatuck will compete at the Class L state championships Saturday in New Haven.