Naugy looking to take home title

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Naugatuck’s Eric Cruz, second from the front, dives into the pool at the start of the 50 freestyle Feb. 17 during a meet against Masuk at Naugatuck High School. –LUKE MARSHALL

NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck boys swim team came into this season with its best shot to win the Naugatuck Valley League title since the Greyhounds ran off four championship seasons in a row from 2007 through 2010.

The Greyhounds were runner-up last season with 770 points to Holy Cross with 803.5 points.

Naugatuck (9-2 overall, 8-1 NVL) swam past most of the usual suspects this season, defeating Torrington, Sacred Heart and Seymour. The Greyhounds’ only setback in the NVL came at the hands of Holy Cross in a 94-92 showdown on Jan. 27. The meet was tied 86-86 going into the final event and chances are this year’s NVL championship will be just as close.

The NVL diving championship is March 1 at Woodland Regional High School in Beacon Falls. The swim championship is March 3 at Kennedy High School in Waterbury.

The Greyhounds finished the regular season last Friday with a 92-83 win over Masuk from the South West Conference.

Naugatuck earned individual event wins from Spencer Maher (200 freestyle, 1:59.84), P.J. Morrissey (200 IM, 2:12.34), Eric Cruz (diving, 204.00), Robert Spino (100 butterfly, 1:01.01), Brian Goggin (100 freestyle, 52.83), and Omari Solomon (500 free style, 5:30.27) to swim past the Panthers.

The Greyhounds come into the NVL championship with at least three swimmers deep in each event, and, according to head coach Jim McKee, they all have the talent to reach the finals and finish in the top eight.

The Greyhounds have last year’s NVL champion 400 freestyle relay squad intact with seniors Solomon, Evan Bombery and Morrissey along with junior Brian Goggin. The team went on to post a fourth-place finish in Class L last season.

Bombery made the Naugatuck all-time list with a second-place finish last year at NVLs in the 200 freestyle (1:48.60) and a second place in the 500 freestyle (5:01.32). Two weeks ago in a win over Sacred Heart, Bombery shattered his old mark putting up a 4:55.88 in the 500 freestyle.

Naugatuck’s Spencer Maher competes in the 200 yard freestyle Feb. 17 during a meet against Masuk at Naugatuck High School. –LUKE MARSHALL

Senior captains Solomon, Bombery, Morrissey and Spino have the Greyhounds ready to finish what they started last season. Cruz, who finished ninth in diving at last year’s NVL championship, will have some help on the diving board this year in senior Grady Beasley.

Solomon was second last year at the NVL championship in the backstroke (57.81) and landed on the Naugatuck all-time list. Brian Goggin finished third in the 200 freestyle (1:50.39) to land on the all-time Naugy list, as well.

Depth will be the difference at this year’s championship meet, and the Greyhounds have the swimmers who can make the difference. Seniors Ben Rossi, Brandon Thomas, Matt Triscritti and Matt Goggin can put Naugy over the top.

Up and down the lineup in every event the Greyhounds are stocked with talent that can compete at the top of the league.

Naugy has seen consistent scoring this season from junior Zach Alves, sophomore Dale Wakeley and Maher, a freshman. Adding to Naugatuck’s depth are juniors Cameron Litwinka, Danilo Assis and Macie Best along with sophomores Austin Herb, Tsering Dhonhop, Jon Lauer and Joe Rafala, and freshman Alex Manasoiu.