Season preview: Indoor track

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Naugatuck
2020-21: season cancelled
Graduated: Justin Carroll, Jason Spino, Jon Volpe, Viola Cerminka, Gina Conforti, Britney Soubannarath
Seniors: Chance Conklin, Matt Kilmer, LeoAngel Lopez, Matt Nofri, Cameron Jacobs, Taylor Trowers, Nathaniel Negron, Julia Kropo, Allison Murphy, Nadia Cestari
First Meet: Dec. 17 New Haven Invitational
Naugatuck returns a team that is raring to go after having last season cancelled due to the pandemic. The Greyhounds return a senior group of prominent athletes who are ready to leave their mark. Looking ahead to a full season along with a postseason that includes a state meet has everyone looking forward for the competition to begin.
“The team is really excited about the season,” said Naugatuck coach Ralph Roper. “They are ready to rock and roll and so am I. Having to compete with a mask, at least until January 1st, is a big concern. We did have a time trial last week with Hillhouse, Bloomfield, Prince Tech and Wilbur Cross and the team did pretty well.
“Matt Nofri, Chance Conklin, Julia Kropo and Allison Murphy did their thing. But what impressed me was a new track athlete, Nadia Cestari, who came over from the basketball team, threw the shot put for the first time ever. The state qualifying distance is 28 feet and she threw 27 feet, 8 inches. Very encouraged by that and looking for some of our athletes to do quite well this season.”

Woodland
2020-21 results: season cancelled
Graduated: Rebecca Benoit, Dylan Carroll, Abby Colt, Elijah Johnson, Megan Luxeder, Justin Petta, Nick Santovasi, Jon Schwarz, Martin Swercewski, James Troy, Gerrit Wissink, Jaden Young
Seniors: Chloe Poulos, Kim Poulos, Cassidy Doiron, Kayla Drmic, Ella McKay, Isabela Mejias, Amber Rosato, Olivia Sullivan; Zach Drewry, Chase Young, Chase Melisky, Tyler Giambra, Sean Swanson, Luca Cambra, Colin Slavin, Josh Avery, Carl Cicchetti, Mark Barbarito, Cole Verrelli, Nate Swercewski, Eric Meade, Thomas Meade
Other key athletes: Isabella Bianchini, Sarah Cooley, Emma Swanson, Lily Miko, Kate Foley, Ella McKay, Ava Muharem, Ervin Owusu, Alex Farr, Kian Sirowich, Jimmy Schwarz, Andrew Orloski, Gabe Diamante, Jaylen Goodall, Christian Morales, Nathan Messina
First meet: to be determined
After last year’s indoor track season was cancelled due to the pandemic, the traditionally strong Hawks look forward to rejoining multi-team meets. Longtime girls coach Jeff Lownds said that he and boys coach Bill Ferrare like the way their teams are shaping up.
“(Assistant coaches) Mike Sirowich, Mario Longo, and us, we’re very pleased with the way things are going,” Lownds said.
Lownds said the best part of coaching indoor track at Woodland is seeing how hard the athletes work in a season that is typically an afterthought at many schools.
“We’re very fortunate at Woodland to have that work ethic,” Lownds said. “It’s a great group to work with. They’re very focused every day. There’s a ton of team cooperation, and that makes for a great program.”
The girls, who have won nine straight NVL indoor track titles, will face several challengers to take down their streak, but Lownds said that the Hawks have “some girls who are very, very capable of doing quite well.”
Lownds expects the boys squad to improve quite a bit upon its ninth-place finish at the 2020 championships.
“Our boys are definitely in the (title) conversation,” Lownds said. “We have a nice mix of different events with throwers, jumpers, pole vault, distance, and relays.”