Local harriers set to take on Northfield Mountain

  • Carsten Carey, of Frontier Regional, finished ninth during the PVIAC cross country championships one week ago. He and his Red Hawk teammates should be in contention to win a WMass Division II title on Saturday. Recorder file photo/dan little

  • Amy O’Sullivan, of Greenfield, finished fourth during the PVIAC cross country championships last week after helping lead the Green Wave to a league title in the regular season. Recorder file photo/dan little

Recorder Staff
Thursday, November 09, 2017

The eyes of the running community shift to Northfield Mountain Saturday, as the Western Mass. Division II Cross-Country Championships are set to be held despite frigid temperatures that should make for uncomfortable conditions.

With temperatures set to hover around 35 degrees when the girls’ race kicks off at 1 p.m., the MIAA sent out a weather memo to all schools this week stating that the National Federation of High School’s uniform rule would not be enforced this weekend. Competitors need to make sure both their bib number and chip are attached to their uniform top, but undergarments are allowed under tops and bottoms. The boys’ race for Div. II is slated for 2:10, with Div. I girls (1:35) and boys (2:45) also taking place in Northfield.

Mohawk Trail Regional High School junior Meghan Davis headlines the girls’ race, which should be plenty interesting toward the top of the leaderboard. Davis was the runner-up at last week’s PVIAC Championship combining both divisions (but excluding the Berkshires), behind just Amherst Regional High School’s Sophia Jacobs-Townsley, who is a favorite to capture the Division I race on Saturday.

At last year’s Div. II meet, Davis finished third overall. Defending champion Emma Jourdain of Lenox Memorial High School graduated, though Davis should have strong competition from a pair of familiar faces and former teammates.

As Berkshire County schools are in the mix for this weekend’s race, Mount Greylock Regional High School sisters Jackie and Lilly Wells return to the race where both finished in the top 4 a year ago as Mohawk runners. The pair have had stellar seasons in their first fall running for their new school in Williamstown and should challenge at the front of the pack.

Mohawk, which finished third as a team at last year’s WMass meet, should also be paced by eighth-grader Erica Szewczyk, who was 32nd overall at the PVIAC meet last week as the team’s No. 2 runner.

Greenfield High School senior Amy O’Sullivan is another local threat to finish near the top on Saturday. O’Sullivan was fourth overall at the PVIAC meet, and she just missed a top 10 finish at last year’s WMass meet where she took 11th overall.

Green Wave teammates Jamie Day (18th) and Courtney Danielsen (42nd) were other top 50 runners at PVIACs, while Day was also 18th last year at WMass. Greenfield, which won its first Pioneer North regular-season title this fall, is looking to improve upon a seventh-place team finish at last year’s WMass championship.

Frontier Regional School’s Emily Laus was her team’s top finisher at the PVIAC meet a week ago, crossing in 65th position. Teammates Angelica Egland and Greyson Young were within 35 seconds of their teammate.

In the boys’ race, last year’s WMass runner-up Frontier hopes its fine season can culminate with a big outing Saturday afternoon. The Red Hawks had all five scorers inside the top 40 last year, and their balanced lineup this season is primed for another big performance.

Junior Carsten Carey, who was 11th last year at WMass, was the team’s top finisher a week ago at the PVIAC meet. Carey cracked the top 10 with a ninth-place showing, as he posted the top time of any Div. II runner there by more than 20 seconds.

Teammates Ben Litskoski, Alex Sharp and Peter Carey all ran well at PVIACs. Sharp, who was 49th a week ago, was the runner-up at last year’s WMass championship, while Litskoski was the team’s No. 3 scorer a year ago. Peter Carey, a freshman, has impressed as a consistent scorer this fall. Other Frontier runners to watch include Dan Dejnak and George Balis.

While Sharp was the top local finisher a year ago at WMass, Franklin County Technical School senior Sohan Tyner wasn’t far behind in fifth place. Tyner, who topped all of western Mass. with seven individual victories during the regular season, sat out last week’s PVIAC meet but should certainly be a factor in Northfield. He was just three seconds out of second place a year ago en route to the fifth-place showing.

Mohawk eighth-grader Dennis Simmons ran well at the PVIAC meet a week ago, taking 37th overall in the talented field of Div. I and II runners.

Other top Recorder-area runners to watch this weekend include Greenfield’s Tyssen LaBombard, Mahar Regional School’s Thor Mead and Franklin Tech’s Martin Given.