Naugy remains on track

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NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck boys and girls indoor track team is making progress two meets into the season.

The Greyhounds continued to show improvement at the Hillhouse Winter Relays Dec. 27 at the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven.

“We are making some steady progress,” head coach Ralph Roper said. “As usual we have a very young team with a few key additions. The senior leadership is helping these younger athletes remain competitive.”

The girls team faced some tough opponents, including St. Joseph, Hillhouse, Southington, Staples and Farmington, in a competitive field of 18 teams.

The 4-by-200 relay squad of junior Ariana Alvarado, seniors Carla Soares and Harmony Sturdivant and sophomore Kyla Magalhaes ran to a fourth-place finish in a time of 1:58.08.

The 4-by-400 relay foursome of Alvarado and Sturdivant along with junior Courtney Morin and freshman Makayla Teixeira finished in seventh place with an effort of 4:46.71.

“We went into the meet without two of our moneymakers in junior sprinters Heyi Cheng and Jasmine Grey,” Roper said. “But we have two younger performers who have been stepping up with sophomore Kyla Magalhaes and freshman Makayla Teixeira.”

The girls team finished the meet with a third relay team breaking into the top 10. The 1,600 medley team of juniors Brittany Burkman, Sarah Cook and Morin joined forces with sophomore Lauren Stankiewicz to place 10th in 5:22.03.

The boys team finished in 11th place out of the 21 entrants. The Greyhounds lived up to their name making a strong showing in the mid- to long-distance relays.

The 1,600 medley foursome of seniors Dan Schumacher, Mike Popescu and Brian Reilly along with freshman Yan Silva raced to a second-place finish in a blistering pace of 3:54.24.

In the 4-by-800 relay, seniors Schumacher and Brody Hale teamed up with juniors Mark Zamani and Mike Zamani to post a 8:44.34 finish — good enough for fourth place.

“We have five or six mid-distance runners who are very competitive,” Roper said. “Schumacher continues to be a student of the sport with Hake and Zamani right behind him.”

Roper also likes what he sees in Silva.

“Yan Silva is only a freshman but he is slowly rising through the ranks and could be a part of the 4-by-800 team by the time the state meet rolls around.”

The 4-by-400 relay squad of Mike and Mark Zamani along with Hale and Silva put in an effort of 3:53.49 to take sixth place. The Greyhounds also picked up some valuable points in some of the field events.

The high jump relay team of seniors Mike Nanadoum and Popescu both hit 5 feet, 4 inches for a team total of 10 feet, 8 inches — good enough for seventh place. The pole vault relay tandem of junior Kevin Okifo and freshman Matt Wahl tied for fifth.

The long jump relay squad of junior Chris White at 17 feet, 9 inches and senior Brendan Caldwell at 16 feet, 4 inches finished seventh as a team. In the shot put relay, seniors Will Paul (37 feet, 7 inches) and Kevin Stephensen (34 feet, 4 inches) broke the top 10 with a ninth-place finish as a team.

As the season continues, Roper said the Greyhounds’ attention is on qualifying for states and getting ready for NVLs.

“The focus right now is to qualify as many athletes for the states,” Roper concluded. “Over the next few weeks we will start to concentrate on the NVL developmental meet and then get ready for the NVL championship meet.”

The Greyhounds will compete in the Elm City Coaches Invitational Saturday, before gearing up to see where they stand in the league with the NVL developmental meet next weekend.