Warriors dethrone Frontier for D2 crown

Henderson, 4 x 400 keys to Mohawk win

  • Kesheal Henderson Mohawk long jump winner<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell
  • 200 meter dash, Kesheal Mohawk first place, Frontier second place<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell
  • Emily Casella Athol discus ?winner?<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

BUCKLAND — Mohawk Trail Regional High School and Frontier Regional School may no longer compete in the Franklin County League together in the regular season. But the schools still found a way to put on a great show Saturday during the Western Massachusetts Division II meet in Buckland.

After everything was said and done, defending-champion Frontier was sitting in first place and held a five-point lead over Mohawk, heading into the final event of the day, the 4 x 400-meter relay. The Warriors’ foursome of Ashley Pierce, Elise Leonard, Lucy Carr and Natasha Olanyk entered the event seeded first and that’s exactly how they finished, beating the closest competition by more than 11 seconds and the 10 points they picked up for the Warriors, coupled with a 12-place finish by Frontier’s 4 x 400 team helped Mohawk knock off the defending champions and take first place with 93 points.

“We haven’t won this since my seventh-grade year (2010) so that was super exciting,” Olanyk said as the team celebrated the victory huddled on the infield of the track following the announcement over the loudspeaker.

Olanyk also cruised to a victory in the 400 on the day, an event she was the top seed in. Olanyk has been chasing down a 32-year school record in the event all season, and on Saturday she was pushed more than she has been all season. She came up a hair short of the 60.2-second record with her finish of 60.23.

Another major contributor to the Warriors’ success at the meet and all season is senior Kesheal Henderson. Henderson opened the day by finishing second in the shot put at 35 feet, 2 inches. She then headed over to the track where she sprinted to a victory in the 200 meters in 26.77 seconds, and finally headed to the long jump pit where she picked up her second win of the day in the long jump with a distance of 16-6.

“It feels good, I’m so excited,” Henderson said of picking up 28 points to help her team to the victory. “We were seeded second as a team and we knew it was going to be really tough … but we did it.”

Mohawk also got top 3 finishes from Makayla Hicks and Sally Slowinski on the day. Hicks finished second in the discus at 97 feet, while Slowinski took second in the triple jump at 33 feet, 7 inches.

Frontier wound up finishing second with 88 points, while South Hadley High School took third with 74 points, and Mahar Regional School came in fourth with 67 points. The Red Hawks had three winners on the day, including Mairead Ferry, who won the 100 meter hurdles. Ferry had a tough day to that point, slipping in the 400 hurdles and finishing last, but she rebounded to win the 100 hurdles in 16.20 seconds, an event she entered seeded second in.

“I had sort of a tumultuous day,” Ferry said. “I wanted one really, really good race and I went for it.”

Ferry also placed fourth in the pole vault at 9 feet.

Frontier’s Kat Miner was the top seed in the high jump but had multiple competitors right on her heels, including Pioneer Valley Regional School’s Danielle Devine. Miner came through to win the event at 5-2, finishing two inches better than Devine, who took second at 5-0. Those two girls were the only two competitors to clear five feet. Miner also picked up a second place finish in the 200 in 27.31 seconds.

Katherine Conlisk was the third winner of the day for Frontier with her first-place throw of 111-3 in the javelin.

“I was not really happy with it,” Conlisk said of her day. “Not (the 111-foot) throw, but my others, I wasn’t particularly happy with.”

Conlisk will join a number of area athletes at next weekend’s Central-Western Mass. Division II Championships at Fitchburg State University. And like a number of the athletes that did not quite live up to their own expectations, Conlisk said she will strive to do even better next weekend as the field grows even more difficult.

“It definitely helps because you see the other girls throwing about what you throw, so you just want to do even better.”

Frontier had two more athletes pick up top 3 finishes as Sarah Conlisk took second in the 800 in 2:25.36, and Kimmi Logan finished third in the pole vault at 9 feet.

Mahar also had a solid showing at the meet. Ally Parker won the pole vault at 9-6 and also finished third in the long jump with a distance of 16-3. The Senators actually had long jumpers take second, third and fourth on the day as Caroline Grutchfield set a personal best in the event with her second-place leap of 16-4, and Tiffany Tenney took fourth with her jump of 16-21/2. Tenney also finished second in the 400 with a time of 1:02.37. Caitriona Cronin came in second in the javelin at 108-3.

Athol High School’s Emily Casella was the final winner on the day with her first-place finish in the shot put at 36-51/2.

Pioneer’s Devine had a solid day with the second-place finish in the high jump and a fourth-place showing in the long jump (32-101/4). Teammate Savannah Sojka picked up a pair of third-place finishes in both the discus (94-9) and the shot put (33-51/2), and Sydney Martin came in second in the pole vault at 9-0.

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