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Area teams ready for indoor season

A season removed from an 11th-place finish in the shot put at the National Indoor Track Championships, Sabrina Silva of Mahar Regional School returns for her senior season as she highlights the local indoor track scene.

All five area squads — Mahar, Pioneer Valley Regional School, Mohawk Trail Regional High School, Athol High School and Greenfield High School — boast talented athletes that will be looking to qualify for the postseason as the Pioneer Valley Interscholastic Athletic Conference (PVIAC) regular season begins today at Smith College in Northampton.

Here’s a closer look at the teams:

Mahar

The Senators will greatly benefit with the return of Silva. They will also look to improve on their ninth-place finish in the Western Massachusetts Championships for head coach Sarah Woodward.

Others returning for Mahar include sophomore Tiffany Tenney and senior Kyrie Boatwright. Tenney is an excellent sprinter — she holds the school record in the 55 meters and 300 meters.

Several others who will be looking to contribute, including junior distance runner Amber Meehan and sophomore distance runner Jessica Lloyd. Junior Kelsey Bardsley will be competing in the long jump while Amber Colon, Kaila Lundgren, and Colleen Burke will all compete in distance events.

• Mahar’s boys’ team enters the season with a lot of turnover from a year ago. This year’s squad will feature many newcomers, most notably sophomore distance runner Zabien Shaw and junior distance runner Patrick Richard.

Junior Dan Bergman will be competing in the hurdles and the long jump, and sophomore Ethan Nye will be a sprinter for the Senators. Senior Curtis Grasse will be throwing the shot put.

Pioneer

The Panthers have one of the biggest teams in the area with over 30 kids competing, which will provide head coach Jim Bell with ample depth.

Senior Ed Kaczenski is the school record-holder in the 1,000 meters, while classmates Noah Rathbun (sprints) and Greg Betsold (shot put) make up the team’s captains.

Other seniors include A.J. Briggs, Geoff Ellis, and Noah Koester.

The 15-member junior class will make up most of Pioneer’s roster, as Brian Aja, Ethan Finnell and Sam Hoisington will keep the Panthers competitive in the distance events.

• The Pioneer girls’ team will also seek improvement from a year ago, and return two strong contributors who are just freshmen. Danielle Devine and Devon Roy are both coming off strong 2011-12 seasons, as Devine was a top-10 high jumer and top-15 long jumper in WMass, and Roy finished 14th in the 300 meters.

Seniors Bri Paradis and Tirena Raymond are the team captains. Other 12th-graders include Jen Tufano, Meghan Devine, Olivia Smiaroski, and Alyssa Weld.

Mohawk

The Warriors were the top girls’ team, finishing eighth in WMass, and return many stars from last year.

Junior Kesheal Henderson and sophomore Natasha Olanyk both return for head coach Joe Chadwick’s squad. Henderson holds the school record in the 300 meters while Olanyk holds both the 600 and 1,000 meter records.

Mohawk’s lone senior is Lydia Morris, who will run sprints and compete in the shot put. Juniors include long distance runners Ashley Pierce, Abbi Yezierski and Angela Younger, all of whom will compete in multiple events.

• On the boys’ side, Mohawk will look to improve on last year’s finish and will be returning many of its athletes.

Seniors Theo Barnhardt and Jeremiah Jones will both be running, while junior Josh Rode and sophomores Andrew Doty and Josh Taylor both return.

Athol

The Red Raider boys’ team lost 10 members from a year ago, but still have a wealth of talent.

Senior Matt Summers is coming off a strong spring season after missing last winter with an injury. Summers will compete in the sprints and long jump for head coach Sarah King.

Other seniors on the team include Giovanni Palermo (sprints, high jump), Travis Heath (shot put) and Gibson LaRoche (middle distance).

Newcomers include seniors Jake Fedelski and Rob Adams and sophomores Sean Lacki and Jamie Posk. Coach King believes that the combination of Posk, Adams, Jon Robertson, and Kyle White will be a strong 4x200 meter relay team that could compete in WMass.

• Sophomore Sophie Palmacci is the top returnee for Athol girls’ team. Last year as a freshmen, Palmacci finished ninth in the 600 meters at WMass. She’ll also compete in the high jump and sprints.

King also has four other returning team members. Seniors Adrienne Amadon and Annie Maclean will both compete in long distance events, while Liz Casella and Haley McGrath will run the sprints.

Newcomers include freshmen Quianna Rivera and Holly Brissette, both of whom compete in different running events.

Greenfield

Senior Colen Stack returns as one of the top runners in WMass for the Green Wave this season. Stack finished 15th last year at the WMass championships in the one mile run with a time of 4:57 and will be looking to lead Greenfield.

Greenfield enters the season with 27 athletes for head coach Stuart Elliott. Some of the returnees include junior Vladimir Popusoi and sophomore William Borcy. Seniors include Luke Toritto and Mike Meyers.

• Eve Charest returns as the top runner for the Green Wave girls’ team, as she took 10th in the WMass two-mile a year ago and finished 28th at the state meet as a seventh grader. Other runners to watch for Greenfield include freshmen distance runner Claire Abelson, and sophomore Sabrina Sparda will also be running in distance events.

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