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Red Hawks win girls’ team title

  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>Start of girls two mile at WMass Div II Championships

    Recorder/Paul Franz
    Start of girls two mile at WMass Div II Championships

  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>GHS Vlad Popusoi won the pole vault at WMass championships

    Recorder/Paul Franz
    GHS Vlad Popusoi won the pole vault at WMass championships

  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>Greg Betsold of Pioneer won the discus

    Recorder/Paul Franz
    Greg Betsold of Pioneer won the discus

  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>Start of girls two mile at WMass Div II Championships
  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>GHS Vlad Popusoi won the pole vault at WMass championships
  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>Greg Betsold of Pioneer won the discus

BUCKLAND — The Frontier Regional School girls’ track & field team may have had a 107-meet winning streak snapped this season but on Friday night the Red Hawks showed the rest of the WMass Division II field that they are still a force to be reckoned with.

The Red Hawks finished with more than twice as many points as their nearest opponent to win the WMass Division II Championships at Mohawk Trail Regional High School.

Frontier dropped a regular-season meet to South Hadley High School this season to snap the winning streak that dated back to 1997, when Frontier lost to the same Mohawk team that was hosting Friday’s meet. On the strength of two wins from Natalie Mako and Mairead Ferry placing in the top two in three others, the Red Hawks piled up 140 points to cruise to the win, with Mt. Greylock Regional High School placing second with 64 points, and Hampshire Regional High School taking third with 63 points.

“I think that loss served as a really big lesson to everyone on this team,” Ferry said. “Some of the kids that may not feel as important to the team’s success at times, realized that they really count and we need them just as much as everyone else. Every person matters on this team.”

“I’m so proud of all these girls,” Mako added. “Everyone is so supportive and I’ve loved running with all these people for so long.”

Mako cruised to wins in the mile and the 2-mile, setting meet records in both events. She won the mile in 5 minutes, 18.84 seconds, and then captured the 2-mile in 11:03.69, finishing more than 1:20 in front of the next closest competitor. Ferry won the 400 intermediate hurdles in 1:08.10, and also placed second in both the 100 high hurdles (16.95 seconds) and the pole vault (8 feet, 6 inches), earning personal bests in all three events.

Mahar Regional School also had a strong day on the girls’ side with a sixth place finish, which was helped out by Sabrina Silva and Ally Parker each winning two events. Silva shattered school records in both the shot put and the discus on the day, winning the shot in 41-0.25 and taking the discus in 117 feet.

“I went in really focused and stayed away from everyone,” she said. “I cleared my mind and got in there, threw it and it worked.”

Parker won the pole vault at 9 feet and took the long jump at 16-7.5.

Pioneer Valley Regional School’s Danielle Devine won the high jump at 5-2 and the freshman said afterward that while she did not hit her personal best on Friday, she has been happy with her improvement this season.

“I keep getting better this season, which makes me happy,” she said. “Winning this is great, I’m so excited, and being a freshman, that made it cooler too.”

Mohawk’s Natasha Olanyk won the 400 in 1:01.90.

On the boys’ side, Mohawk and Greenfield tied for second place with 53 points apiece, well back of Monument Mountain Regional High School, which won the meet with 118.2 points.

Greenfield had a pair of winners on the day in Vlad Popusoi and Mike Meyers. Meyers won the javelin in 149-3, while Popusoi cleared a height of 12 feet to win the pole vault. Popusoi had cleared 13-9 in the final regular season meet on Monday, setting a school record in the process, and said that he simply had a tough day.

“I had a terrific day here earlier in the week,” Popusoi said. “It just wasn’t meant to be today.”

Mohawk was led by Lucas Purington, who won the 400 in 52.03.

Mahar’s Zabien Shaw won the mile in 4:47.94. The win came after he passed four other runners in the final few hundred yards. Shaw said afterward it was a relief given his having to battle some off-track issues over the past few months.

“I had been hospitalized for a bit so I knew it was going to be tough today,” he explained. “After fighting through all that, I just knew I had to win. I wanted to stay behind, but close enough to catch them and when it got late in the race, I just said to myself ‘You’ve got to want it.’”

Pioneer’s Greg Betsold had another monster day in the throws, setting a meet record in the discus with his winning distance of 137-2, and also crushing his previous personal best in the shot put by more than four feet with a first-place distance of 47-1.5.

“It’s pretty crazy,” he said of setting the record in the distance and winning two events. “I love the pressure that comes with these meets. It brings out the competitiveness in me and I’m on cloud nine right now.”

Athol High School also picked up a win on the day as Matt Summers took the 400 in 23.62 seconds.

The local squads will head to the Central-Western Mass. meet on May 25 in Westfield.

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