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Popusoi, Betsold garner C-WMass crowns

WESTFIELD — It was a quiet day on the track for boys’ track and field teams from across Franklin County on Monday at the Central-Western Mass. Division II Championships at Westfield State University, but in the field portion of the events, several local kids were able to shine.

Greenfield High School’s Vladimir Popusoi netted a first-place finish in the pole vault, jumping 13 feet, 6 inches. His jump was two feet better than Monson High School’s Brendan Lloyd, who finished second in the event.

Besides Popusoi, Pioneer Valley Regional School’s Greg Betsold bested his school’s record in the discus to claim first, throwing the discus a whopping 143-07. Betsold was also able to finish fourth in the shot put with a throw of 44-1 1/4.

The two round out a narrow list of competitors that qualified for the State meet next weekend.

Betsold’s teammate Darion Sadri finished third in the long jump (20-05) to qualify for next week. Mohawk Trail Regional High School’s Leroy Page was able to finish fourth in the javelin (152-10).

Of the competitors on the track, only the Frontier Regional School’s 4x400 meter relay team qualified for the state meet. The team of Justin Blake, Dylan Talbot, Collin Higgins, and Oliver Fox finished with a time of 3:34.66.

After his event, Popusoi admitted that he didn’t clear the height he had set out for, but was confident that he would get to it next week.

“It feels pretty good to win,” Popusoi said. “I was looking for 14 feet, but I kind of lost it after 13-6. I kind of lost focus a little bit.”

Asked how he would get to the 14-foot mark, Popusoi said: “Just jump. That is all you can do is keep jumping.”

And while Popusoi will be looking to better his result next week, Betsold reflected on a discus throw that finally got him to his mark.

“That was amazing,” Betsold said of the throw. “It was amazing finally getting our school record, which I’ve been shooting for all year. I’ve been looking for that for a long time.”

The group of competitors now turn their sights to the State Division II meet on Saturday at Westfield State University starting at 1 p.m.

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