Warriors hunting down fifth straight title

  • Franklin Tech’s senior jump/sprint superstar Owen Ortiz, a Turners Falls High School student on the Eagles’ co-op team, just might be the Intercounty League’s top performer. If not, he’ll be among a handful of the best and should accumulate a lot of wins and points for the Eagles. recorder file photo/Matt Burkhartt

  • Owen Ortiz sprints down the track after receiving the baton from Nik Skiathitis during the 4x100 meter relay at Franklin County Technical School's meet against Frontier Regional School Monday afternoon at Turners Falls High School. recorder file photo/Matt Burkhartt

  • Mohawk junior Seth Hoynoski has been around awhile for the stacked Warriors and could be the most productive point-producer of all Warriors this season as a hurdler and sprinter. recorder file photo/Matt Burkhartt

  • Owen Ortiz, of Franklin County Technical School, leads the 100 meter dash during their meet against Frontier Regional School. recorder file photo/Matt Burkhartt

  • Ben Warger, of Mohawk Trail Regional High School, competes in the 4x100 meter relay during the PVIAC Division II championships. recorder file photo/Matt Burkhartt

Recorder Staff
Published: 4/1/2017 3:00:16 PM

Can Mohawk Trail Regional High School make it a handful?

The Warriors come into the season looking to capture their fifth consecutive Intercounty League boys’ track championship, having won each of the previous four by going unbeaten in the regular season.

Mohawk lost some talented seniors from a year ago but comes into the season retooled as it does every year. The team that could be standing in the way of the Warriors’ dominant run is Mahar Regional School, which finished second last season. The Senators lost just one senior from that team and come back fully stocked and hungry.

Frontier Regional School and Greenfield High School finished third and fourth last season and both should remain very competitive again. A team that could be on the rise is Pioneer Valley Regional School, which has solid junior and sophomore classes to build around. Franklin County Technical School and Athol High School finished at the bottom of the league last season, and both may struggle to compete against some of the top teams in the league again this year. Yet both underlings have individuals worth watching.

Here’s a look at the league:

Athol (0-8)

Could this be the year Athol gets a team victory?

The once proud Red Raiders have fallen on tough times in recent years, going winless for the third straight season in 2016. There is plenty for the team to be excited about, however, with three talented individuals leading the way.

Mason Barrieau is a mulit-event star sophomore but specializes in the hurdles. He finished third in the WMass Division II meet in the 400-meter hurdles, and was fifth in the 110 hurdles, which qualified him for the West/Central meet in both events. He finished seventh in the 400 at the West/Central meet, and was 23rd in the 110 hurdles.

The other two to keep an eye on are junior Chase Michaud and sophomore Dennis St. Jean, a pair of talented distance runners who are both coming off solid indoor seasons. Michaud finished 12th in the 800 in the WMass Division II meet last season, and was 17th at the West/Central meet.

Athol coach Bill LaRose has a number of new faces and is still unsure where some of his pieces will fit. Rounding out the sophomore class is Connor Arpide, Colby Hume and Joe Seamans, while Dakota Gilman and Jon Ciferri-Bonilla round out the junior class. The Red Raiders have three talented senior throwers in Rowan Anderson, Dan Arpide and Greg Moore, he also a sprinter. Rounding out the roster of high school students aee freshmen Kaleb Her, Anthony Marcucci and Logan Wing.

The good news for the future is that Athol has a number of middle-school athletes. Christian Casillas, Brady Killay, Parker Lizotte (mid-distance runner), Alex McIntosh, Brian Nano, Bryce Shufelt and Aiden Needle are all in eighth-grade, while Jetzua Castillo, Nicholas Deleo and Isiac Paulino are seventh-graders.

FC Tech (2-5)

Owen Ortiz will be one of the league’s platinum performers this season.

The Turners Falls High School senior leads the Franklin County Technical School cooperative team. Ortiz, a jumper/sprinter, finished second in the 100 at last year’s Division II meet, and fourth in the long jump. He then took second in the long jump, second in the triple jump and fourth in the 100 in the West/Central meet, which helped Franklin Tech finish ninth as a team, second in the area to Mohawk. He went on to place 12th in the long jump and 17th in the triple at the All-State meet.

Classmate Dalton Wesoloski is a solid contributor in the triple jump, high jump and 100, while junior Sohan Tyner is one of the area’s best distance runners. Senior Ricky Smith and junior Spencer Telega are both throwers who should fare well, and juniors Martin Given and Scott Martin are solid distance runners. Joel Farrick is a junior pole vaulter and sprinter, and Calin Giurgiu is a junior thrower. Jozyan Gonsalez is a senior pole vaulter.

Other team throwers include juniors Chase Blair, Jadon Sadlowski and Jaxon Rollins, sophomore Deven Goshea, and freshmen Ben Blais, Josh Blais, Colin Pettis, Cameron Bradley, Jared Vielmetti-Perusse, and David Bickford.

Alexander LaValley is a sophomore sprinter and pole vaulter, while Grayson Funk is a mid-distance runner, javelin thrower and long-jumper. Freshman Kai Rodriguez sprints and throws, classmate Ian McClure sprints, hurdles and jumps, and Dante Rosewood sprints and jumps.

Frontier (4-2)

The Red Hawks were a senior-laden squad last spring and graduated a number of their top performers. So, though, coach Walt Flynn does return a handful of his top performers, he has a number of early-season question marks in several events. The Red Hawks will seek to improve on last year’s third-place finish, a 4-2 season.

Frontier’s senior performers number three, including distance runner Aaron Dorshow, discus thrower Luke Parsons and javelin thrower Ewan Bennett.

The class that will provide much of the Hawks’ scoring is the juniors. Aaron Landry is a sprinter who finished 26th in Division II in the 100 last season, and 13th in the 200. Andy Paul came in 13th in the 400 and is a mid-distance runner, while Brandon Trueswell took 16th in the 400 and is another mid-distance guy. Miguel Olvera-Aguilera is a mid-distance runner and Brandyn Robinson is a distance runner. The rest of the class consists of Matt Carlson, Nikola Dragisevich, Zachary Hamilton, Luay Helali, Michael Imm, Ben Litskoski, Tyler Mayrand, and Tristen Orloski.

The sophomore class also features some talented returnees. Alex Sharp is back after placing 12th in the mile last season and will be one of the Hawks’ top distance runners. Phaelon Koski is a hurdler who came in 12th in the 400 intermediates, and Ben Hamer is another hurdler in the class. The rest of the sophomore class consists of Dan Dejnak, Johnathan Creque, Aaron Halbach, Josiah Murry, Kip Newman, Ben Roberts, Jason Rybczyk-Potorski, Eric Trueswell and Ari Vanegas.

The freshmen class is Jack Donohue, Sam Hebert, Ryan Huit, Chris LaBarbera, Andrew Logan, KC Mattson, Emmett McGranaghan, Victor McNutt, Jake Meier, Jeff Stiles and Mike Trueswell.

Greenfield (3-3)

You can pencil Greenfield in anywhere from second to fourth in the final IL standings for the past decade. While that Green Wave did had no titles, the team has made a name for itself as perhaps WMass’ best pole-vaulting school.

The Green Wave has produced some electric vaulters in the past five to 10 years, and the tradition has continued. Last spring, the Green Wave had a pair of pole vaulters make not just the Division II meet, not just the Central/West meet, but went all the way to All-State meet qualification. Silvian Popusoi and David Giurgiu are both seniors this season after last year tying for second at the Division II meet. Popusoi then went on to win the Central/West meet, while Giurgiu took third, and at the All-State meet, Popusoi and Giurgiu wee ninth and 12th. Popusoi is also a talented jumper, qualifying for Division II in the triple jump last season, and a solid hurdler. Giurgiu is a solid mid-distance runner, taking 19th in the 400 last year.

They are not the only talented seniors returning. Mike Aras is a solid high-jumper, who will be joined in the event by sophomore Robert Byrd, while senior Connor Joy is a strong sprinter, placing 21st in the 100 at Division II last season. Elijah Brown is another senior sprinter and thrower, while classmates Sam Knight, Isaiah Morrison and William Roux are distance runners. Greenfield actually has a solid group of distance runners that also includes sophomores Dylan Badillo and Tyssen LaBombard.

Other sprinters include senior Ben Rodriguez, juniors Asier Areta-Ortiz and Liam McClain (who placed 11th in the 200 at the Division II meet), sophomore Robert Byrd, and freshmen Eduard Brenes-Obando, Sean O’Sullivan and Dylan Roy. Senior Matteo Velez, juniors Charles Fox and Daniel Mihailicenco, sophomore Elijah Stathis and freshmen Alex Tirrell and Peter Balan are all mid-distance runners. Senior Laz Santiago is a thrower, and freshman Crecens Iavorschi is a hurdler.

Mahar (6-1)

If a team is going to supplant Mohawk at the top of the of the IL standings this season, it will likely be the team that resides at the Woodward Complex in Orange.

Mahar is loaded with talented individuals who all left their marks on the postseason last year. The Senators had 14 individuals compete at the West Division II meet, and 11 who competed at the West/Central meet, by far the most individuals of any area team.

“We have a strong group of upperclassmen who are motivated after coming one win short the last two years,” Mahar coach Kyle Magoffin said. “Unfortunately, losing can be a huge motivator, and losing to the same team (Mohawk) in such close fashion is tough.”

Mahar is loaded with talented throwers. The best of the bunch may be senior Bryce Cleveland, who finished seventh in both the shot put and the javelin at the Division II meet. Junior Nicholas Sharp was ninth in the discus and 10th in the shot put. Senior John Nye is another talented thrower. The group is rounded out by juniors Ryan Badgley and Cole Emery, sophomores Miguel Arce, Cameron Burnett, Peter Currie and Lucas Seney, and freshmen Desean Watson and Cameron Williams.

Junior Uziel Valentin will be one of WMass’ best jumpers after placing third in the triple and fifth in the long last year. Other distance jumpers on the team are juniors Aidan Didonato, Seth Mitchell, and Jamie Teele, and freshman Deven Patch.

Seniors Nick Stafford and Isaak Reinikainen are both talented high jumpers. Reinikainen finished third in the Division II meet in the high jump, and was also ninth in the 800, while Stafford was sixth in the high jump, and 12th in the 400.

Brendon Arsenault is the team’s top hurdler. The sophomore finished seventh in the 110 highs as a freshman and eighth in the 400 intermediates. Junior Hugo Frost is another talented hurdler, finishing seventh in the 400 intermediates, while classmate Aaron Hendry took eighth in the 110 highs.

Ash Shaw is a talented junior runner who finished third in the 400 last season, while sophomore Cam Mosher is the team’s top pole-vaulter after finishing fifth at Division II last season.

Team seniors include Andrew Hill (distance), Damon Mitchell (sprints) and Brian Nye (sprints), while juniors on the team include Tim Griffin (distance), Sebastian Shaw (sprints, mid-distance) and Hunter Stanley (distance). The sophomore class is rounded out by Edward Bennington (distance), Jordan Desrosiers, Jon Gariepy and Thomas Shortis (distance), and the freshmen class includes Alex Downing (distnace) and Thor Mead (distance).

Mohawk (6-0)

Mohawk Trail lost a number of talented athletes who helped lead the Warriors to the IL title for the fourth straight year. Eli Shearer, Cam Olanyk, Sam Rode and Jacob Cross were all major contributors on a squad that seems to lose talented athletes every spring. The good news is that the Warriors return seven individuals who qualified for the Division II meet and appear plenty stocked to make a run at a fifth straight league crown.

Junior Seth Hoynoski may be the team’s top returnee, a strong hurdler and sprinter. Hoynoski took second in the 400 hurdles and fourth in the 110 hurdles last year. He will also look to score in the 200 and 400, and may take a shot at the 400 record set by Shearer last season.

The senior class is led by another dual-event qualifier from a year ago, Zach Coburn, who was fourth in the triple jump at Division II, and 13th in the 800. Coburn will compete in the distance events and has worked hard to improve. Ben White is a great sprinter and finished seventh in the 200 last year, and Hunter Gibson is another top sprinter who also qualified for Division II in the 200. He will also throw the javelin. John Demech is back after finishing ninth in the javelin in Division II, and Riley Dupree is a sprinter. Zach Goodell is a thrower, and Aidan Sandvik is a distance runner and high-jumper.

Joining Hoynoski out of the junior class is Ben Warger, another strong sprinter who finished 14th in the 100 last season. Warger will also jump. David Hobbs is a strong sprinter who should excel in the 400, Gabe Bower is a Swiss army knife who will jump, hurdle, throw and run mid-distance, Andrew Hicks returns after a hiatus and will throw the javelin and discus, and Dawson Clark will sprint.

Bennett Boucias will run the 800 and the mile and leads the sophomore class. London Summers will throw the javelin and sprint, and Guy Rice-Lesure will hurdle. Walker Gibson and Jameson Dailey-Pecor round out the sophomores. Evan Shippee nearly qualified for Division II in the high jump as an eighth-grader and is back to lead the freshmen. Ryan Burke and Aidan Duncan are sprinters, Sovaun Crawford will run, and Owen Cross will throw the javelin.

Pioneer (2-4)

For the third straight year, Pioneer finished with two wins last season, but if the Panthers have a chance to rack up more wins, it could be in the next year or two. The team has just one senior — a newcomer in the form of Nick Berte, who will throw this season — but has a talented class of juniors and sophomores to lead the way.

Sophomore Scott McDonough is coming off a strong indoor season in the jumps and returns this season after placing sixth in the long jump and ninth in the triple jump in Division II last season. Gavin Curtis is another sophomore who finished 10th in the pole vault at Division II and will also sprint, while classmate Ethan Lanoie is a thrower who took 11th in the discus. Jake Comiskey is another thrower in the sophomore class, and Wyatt Keith does javelin and sprints. Brian Killay is a distance runner, while Austin Walker and Jake Wallace both jump and sprint.

Jacob Kelton and A.J. Wilson lead the junior class. Kelton is a pole vaulter and sprinter who finished seventh in the pole at the Division II meet last spring, while Wilson is a thrower who took sixth in the shot put and is coming off a strong indoor season. Andrew Pratt and Cole Leighton are both throwers, while Alex Wahlstrom and Justin Hubbard will both throw and run the hurdles. Alyks Kostecki is a hurdler and javelin thrower as well.

Brian Bodenstein (distance, long jump) and Noah Horton (throws) are both freshmen, while Miguel Clapp (jumps, sprints), Henry Curtis (distance), Noah de Ruiter (distance, long jump), Noah Fuess (distance), Gage Garcia (pole vault) and Lucas Kelton (distance) are all eighth graders.

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