Schumacher sets school record


NEW HAVEN — Naugatuck long distance threat Dan Schumacher broke the Greyhounds school record in the 1,600 at the Class L state championship meet last week.

Schumacher, a senior, topped the old mark set by former Greyhound Muad Hrezi.

Schumacher put up a time of 4:23.97 to beat his seed time by 5 seconds and captured fourth place at the meet. His time will send him back to the State Open for the second year in a row.

Schumacher also ran to fourth in the 3,200 posting a time of 9:46.39 — good enough to qualify for State Open for the second time as well. Schumacher finished fourth in the 1,600 last year at the Class L meet and was seventh in the 3,200, but the senior beat both times this year by close to 10 seconds.

“Dan ran two good races,” Naugatuck head coach Ralph Roper said. “He works so hard and is continually getting better with each race. I’m so proud of all his hard work and breaking the school record in the 1,600.”

Windsor captured the boys Class L state championship with 85 team points. Darien finished second at 66 points and Wilton third at 54 points. There was just no competing against Windsor as the sheer numbers of the team staggered the rest of the field.

In the preliminaries for the 55-meter dash Windsor entered seven runners out of the 22 competitors and ended up with four of the eight runners in the finals.

“As a team you just can’t compete with those kind of numbers,” Roper said. “We had seven girls qualify for the Class L meet and 11 boys. Windsor had that many athletes competing in just one event.”

Despite being at a numbers disadvantage, Roper liked what he saw from his team.

“But as a whole I was very pleased at how we competed,” he said. “I always say you need to be in it to win it.”

Aside from Schumacher’s performance, Roper also spoke highly of Brody Hale, who knocked 10 seconds of his time in the 3,200.

Hale finished 14th in the 3,200 (10:15.56) with Mark Zamani right behind in 17th (10:29.96). Zamani also had a strong showing in the 1,000 meters finishing seventh.

Brian Reilly just missed out in the preliminaries of the 55 hurdles by less than a half second, but did place 17th in the 600 meters in 1:32.63.

Will Paul placed 18th in the shot with a throw of 38 feet, 9 inches.

The ‘Hounds had a fine showing in some relays as well.

The 1,600 sprint medley relay team of Mike Nanadoum, Mike Popescu, Reilly and Mark Zamani finished ninth in 3:50.18. The 4-by-200 relay team of Popescu, Nanadoum, Yan Silva and Mike Campos placed 13th, and the foursome of Nanadoum, Campos, Mike Zamani and Silva finished18th in the 4-by-400.

Roper said the key to compete with teams like Windsor is to increase Naugy’s numbers.

“I have tried to increase our number of athletes in the past when I ran a track camp,” Roper said. “But what we need is a feeder program like some of these other schools like Windsor. Then we also have to compete with other schools like Nonnewaug, Sacred Heart and Holy Cross as not all of the athletes end up in Naugatuck.

“But outside of the numbers game it all comes down to the fear factor. You need to be in control, relaxed and patient, knowing when to strike. If fear gets in the way and you fall behind there is very little chance that you will be able to make up that deficit.”

The girls’ high hopes on speedster Ariana Alvarado were dashed when she missed the 55 meter finals by less than a tenth of a second. But, Alvarado rebounded nicely to lead the relay teams to solid finishes.

The 4-by-200 team of Alvarado, Heyi Cheng, Jasmine Grey and Kayla Magalhaes ran to 10 place in 1:54.25 and the 4-by-400 squad of Alvarado, Harmony Studivant, Grey and Cheng placed 11th in 4:32.46.

Grey added ninth-place finish in the high jump, and Carla Soares ran a 10.43 in the 55 hurdles.

Roper said the squad wasn’t at full strength heading into the meet and missed out on qualifying more athletes because the NVL meet was postponed.

“We had three of our athletes who were battling sickness prior to the meet and we didn’t come in at full strength,” Roper said. “If we had been able to run the NVL meet beforehand we might have been able to add a few more athletes. But, every team in the state is in the same position due to the weather issues.”