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Carey leads Frontier boys to 2nd place

  • Mohawk's Meghan Davis runs on her way to a second place finish followed by Emily Boutin, of Pope Francis, and Greenfield's Amy O'Sullivan during the Western Massachusetts Division II Cross Country Championship on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017 at Northfield Mountain. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Mohawk’s Meghan Davis runs down the final stretch to a second place finish Saturday during the WMass Division II Cross Country Championships. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier’s Carsten Carey runs down the final stretch to a second-place finish Saturday during the WMass Division II Cross Country Championships. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Mohawk and Greenfield girls run at the start of the Western Massachusetts Division II Cross Country Championship on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017 at Northfield Mountain. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Mohawk and Greenfield girls run at the start of the Western Massachusetts Division II Cross Country Championship on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017 at Northfield Mountain. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Greenfield's Amy O'Sullivan runs down the final stretch to a fourth place finish during the Western Massachusetts Division II Cross Country Championship on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017 at Northfield Mountain. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier's Greyson Young runs down the final stretch during the Western Massachusetts Division II Cross Country Championship on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017 at Northfield Mountain. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier's Alex Sharp runs down the final stretch to a fourth place finish during the Western Massachusetts Division II Cross Country Championship on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017 at Northfield Mountain. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Boys cross country teams run at the start of the Western Massachusetts Division II Championship on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017 at Northfield Mountain. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Franklin Tech's Sohan Tyner runs down the final stretch to a ninth place finish during the Western Massachusetts Division II Cross Country Championship on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017 at Northfield Mountain. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE



Special to the Recorder
Sunday, November 12, 2017

NORTHFIELD — It was a team-bonding moment.

Frontier Regional School’s top seven runners all got buzz haircuts from teammate Ben Litskoski’s father, Rich, earlier in the week. Right after the haircuts, they sent a photo over to coaches Bob Smith and Walt Flynn.

“One day they were at practice with hair and the next day without it,” Smith said. “I sat on my couch laughing when I got the picture.”

Junior Carsten Carey led Frontier to a second-place team finish with 63 points and a berth in the state meet Saturday after he finished as runner-up in 17 minutes, 20 seconds in the Western Massachusetts Division II Cross Country Championship at Northfield Mountain Recreation Center.

“Carsten did what he had to do,” Smith said.

Carey had a little help from his friends as well.

Alex Sharp finished fourth in 17:37, his second top-five finish in as many years. Litskoski was 12th in 18:12. Peter Carey was 22nd in 18:37 and Daniel Dejnak was 26th in 18:46.

“Alex has had a recurring hip problem all year long and he just gutted it out,” Smith said of Sharp.

Don’t tell the Red Hawks that cross country is an individual sport.

“We were all mentally and physically into this race,” Carsten Carey said “We did a lot of training over the summer and we wanted this race bad.”

That team-bonding moment worked wonders for the Red Hawks, who continued their string of postseason success.

“We’ve been building toward this for three years,” Smith said.

For years, Frontier’s boys took a backseat to the girls’ team, which enjoyed more successful finishes. But that changed over the past three years thanks to a determined group of young men.

“It took a long time to get to where we are now,” Smith said. “This is a great group of boys. Four years ago, the seniors planted the seed and these guys just keep on working.”

Carsten Carey, who did not compete in the States last season due to injury, ran a strong race.

“He left it all out there and did what he had to do,” Smith said. “That was a great finish.”

Carsten Carey battled the cold and tough hills.

“I wish I had worn gloves — I couldn’t feel my hands at all,” he said. “I’m happy with my time. The last time I ran this course, I was in seventh grade. We did a lot of training together and we wanted this.”

Mount Greylock Regional High School won the team title with 38 points, while Lenox Memorial High School was third behind Frontier with 117. Greylock’s Jesse Seid won the individual title in 17:06, 14 seconds ahead of Carsten Carey.

Sohan Tyner of Franklin County Technical School also qualified for States as an individual after he finished ninth overall in 18:03.

Mohawk Trail Regional High School eighth-grader Dennis Simons is also going to States. He placed 11th in 18:09, a huge improvement from a year ago when he took 120th as a seventh-grader (22:03).

“He ran a great race,” Mohawk coach Joe Chadwick said of Simmons.

Greenfield High School took 10th as a team with 300 points, as junior Dylan Badillo was the first Green Wave runner across the line in 45th place (19:33). Dylan Roy (59th, 19:59) and Alex Tirrell (60th, 20:01) also ran well for Greenfield.

Pioneer Valley Regional School senior Alex Wahlstrom was his team’s top finisher in 87th place (21:57).

In the girls’ race, it was a bittersweet moment for Chadwick as he watched the finish of the Division II race.

The Warriors’ Meghan Davis finished second overall at 19:44, just 13 seconds behind winner Jackie Wells of Mount Greylock.

Wells ran the past two seasons at Mohawk before transferring to Greylock this fall. Davis and Wells shared a hug and congratulated each other following the race.

Sister Lilly Wells finished seventh for the Mounties, who edged Lenox for the team title by three points. Hampshire Regional High School also qualified for the state meet.

Mohawk was seventh with 176 points. Had the Wells sister continued running for the Warriors, it would have given them three top 10 finishers instead of one.

Mohawk eighth-grader Erica Szewczyk was the next runner across after Davis, taking 36th place in 22:54. Eighth-graders Riley Hayward (43rd) and Caitlin Upton (45th) were joined by sophomore Carli Cusimano (51st) as scorers for the Warriors.

Davis built off a strong second-place finish a week ago at PVIACs, where she was behind just Division I champion Sophia Jacobs-Townsley of Amherst.

“That was a confidence-booster,” Davis said of the PVIAC finish. “I’ve always looked up to (Jacobs-Townsley).”

“Meghan ran a great race, it was just that Jackie was better,” Chadwick said. “Her work ethic is why she is able to challenge great runners.”

Davis was determined to go all out.

“I was leading for a while, but when Jackie passed me, I tried to stay with her,” Davis said. “She’s got a lot of speed.”

Davis did a good job managing the hills on the difficult course.

“The hills were more challenging,” she said. “Strategically, it’s hard to think about having a lot of hills in the beginning, then shifting to rolling hills. You change your stride a little bit to account for the roller coaster like course.”

Also going to the state meet on the girls’ side are Greenfield teammates Amy O’Sullivan (fourth in 20:14) and Jamie Day (ninth in 20:52) along with Courtney Danielsen (26th in 22:19).

“This was my best finish at Western Mass.” said O’Sullivan, who has shown steady improvement during her career. “I worked hard over the summer.”

O’Sullivan finished 11th as a junior and sixth as a sophomore at Western Mass.

Day was 18th a year ago.

“It was just mind over matter, perseverance and hard training,” Day said.

Greenfield finished fourth with 140 points, 23 points shy of qualifying for states as a team.

Frontier was 10th as a team with 263 points, as junior Emily Laus paced the squad with a 39th-place finish in 23:16. Fiona Howes (54th), Greyson Young (56th), Angelica Egland (58th) and Fiona Ferry (60th) all scored in a balanced effort for the Red Hawks.