MIDDLETOWN — This year’s Naugatuck track team didn’t have the same kind of overall depth as in most years but the Greyhounds still made their mark at the Class L track and field championships in Middletown on Tuesday.
The boys’ 4-by-800 relay team raced to gold. The foursome of Muad Hrezi, Nick Moriello, Collin Reilly, and Jake Simons won the race with a time of 8:16.22 to pace the Greyhounds to a seventh place showing among a field of 27 teams with a team total score of 34 points.
“They weren’t as fast as when they set the NVL record last week,” said Naugatuck head coach Ralph Roper. “But it certainly was good enough to qualify for the state open next week. We didn’t have a lot of highlights but we are a much younger team this year than in the past.”
The Naugatuck girls finished in the back in the pack scoring a team total of nine points, with only four events finishing in the top ten.
Briana Ritter will compete in the state open next week after finishing with a silver medal in the discus with a throw of 104 feet, 5 inches.
“Briana missed out on first place by just three inches,” Roper said.
Ritter also finished tenth in the shot put with a throw of 30 feet, 3 inches.
Roper said the team’s lack of depth hurt the Greyhound’s chances.
“What hurt us the most is we couldn’t field all the events, and that’s where the lack of depth came in to play,” Roper said.
Naugatuck didn’t field any athletes in the high jump, long jump, or triple jump missing the likes of last year’s state champion Amanze Williams. The boys didn’t field anyone in the throwing events either missing out on points in the shot put, discus, and javelin.
“Those are a lot of team points to give away,” Roper said. “But the future looks bright for the track team and hopefully next year we can add to our numbers and continue to grow.”
Despite the lack of depth, the Greyhounds made their presence felt.
Moriello ran to a second place finish in the 800 with a time of 2:00.16 and Collin Reilly finished fifth with an effort of 2:01.96.
The 4-by-400 relay team of Patrick Alves, Isaque Monteiro, Moriello, and Brian Reilly finished ninth in 3:31.39 — just one second off the pace that would have qualified the team for the state open.
“Nick ran a great race in the 800 and Collin did a season best time,” Roper said. “The 4-by-400 relay squad just missed qualifying for the states.”
Hrezi ran to a second place finish in the 3200 at 9:47.91 and will represent Naugatuck at the state open. Hrezi also finished fifth in the 1600 with a run of 4:36.13. Colton Wagner placed tenth in the pole vault with an effort of 11 feet.
Mick Pernell, Nate Buie, Simons, Mike Uva and Enrique DeJesus also qualified to compete in the Class L meet on Tuesday.
For the girls, Jordyn Allen earned an eighth place finish in the 1600 in a time of 5:35.14. Shannon Hale was the only other top-ten finisher for the girls on the track. She won tenth in the 300 hurdles with a time of 49.87.
Georgette Nixon, Regina Roper, Carla Soares and Whitney Stokes along with Harmony Sturdivant, Lindsay Thoren, Madison Beasley, Katrina Gullota and Kelly Koslosky also qualified to compete at the Class L meet for the girls team.