NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck indoor track teams are putting the final pieces into place as they look to make runs at the Naugatuck Valley League titles that slipped out of their grasp last season.
The boys team is well stocked with depth while the young girls team has brought along a few newcomers to add to the final output. But it’s been a struggle just to keep the team intact.
“We have had a lot of illness with flu-related symptoms over the past few weeks,” Naugatuck head coach Ralph Roper said. “At one point we had 209 kids out of school due to illness. But in the process we have seen a lot of improvement in the speed of this team. We haven’t had that in quite a while and I’m encouraged as we head into the final week of preparation for the NVL championship meet.”
Both the boys and girls teams have solid lineups that can go three-deep in many of the events. Naugatuck had a good showing at the SCC Coaches Invitational two weeks ago and last week competed in a final tune-up for the league championship at the NVL Developmental meet.
The ‘Hounds are looking to race ahead of the field on the strength of their speed as Nate Buie posted a strong, 6.88-second time in the 55-meter dash at the SCC Coaches Invitational on Jan. 12. Jason Goja is another fast threat for the Greyhounds.
Brian Reilly will be an integral part of the relays teams along with his brother, Colin. In the mid-distance events Naugatuck will look to Isaque Monteiro, Mike D’Agnone, Justin Jimenez and Pat Alves.
Dan Schumacher will be the “go-to guy in the distance,” according to Roper. Mike Uva should also be a top contributor in those events.
Roper said the boys’ field events have been stronger than usual. Kyle Philson and Corey Andrews, along with Monteiro, can give Naugy a leg up on the competition in the jumps.
Naugatuck will rest its hopes on James Brewer and Ryan Massicote in the pole vault but the Greyhounds hope to really show their edge in the throws with James SanAngelo and Jack Reardon setting the pace.
“I’ve been really impressed with our throws,” Roper said. “We have two kids who have thrown over 40 feet and that has not happened in quite some time.”
On the girls side, Jordyn Allen, Lindsay Thoren and Samantha Hilse will give the Greyhounds a solid presence in the mid-to-long-distance runs. Ariana Alvarado, Jill Orts and Melissa Goja will represent the speed of the ‘Hounds.
Elena Gordon, Regina Roper, Madison Beasley, Carla Soares, Heyi Cheng and Courtney Morin will be among Naugy’s relay specialists.
“The girls team is young but they are improving,” Roper said. “I’m expecting a solid contribution from some of the younger girls. The sprinters are coming around and we are very competitive in the relays. Some of these freshmen are really going to show some good things. But in order to stay competitive we are going to need balance.”
Maddie Kloc and Harmony Sturdivant will give Naugatuck a strong presence in the jumps with Brianna Ritter, Quiana Stanley and Samantha Corcho giving the ‘Hounds a shot in the throws.
It will all come down to the league championship meet Tuesday at the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven.
“We have a pretty good chance at being at the top of the pack,” Roper said. “But the more we can show balance throughout the lineup the more competitive we will be. The key now is to try and keep everyone healthy and to sharpen our skills — to gain an advantage with our starts and stops and fine tune our jumps and throws.”