MIAA Cross Country: Frontier girls, Mohawk Trail boys look to compete at state meet

  • Frontier’s Abigail Howard leads the pack during a race earlier this season. Howard and the Redhawks will look to make their mark at the MIAA Division 3 championship Saturday in Wrentham. Staff FILE Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Reports
Published: 11/19/2021 5:04:46 PM

For the third consecutive weekend, local harriers will test themselves against postseason competition as the MIAA Division 3 Cross Country Championships are set to run at the Wrentham Developmental Center.

The Div. 3 boys race is set for a 1 p.m. start while the girls race follows at 1:45 p.m. Division 1 and 2 run before the D3 field. A trophy and medals will be presented to the winning team and runner-up in each division, while medals will be awarded to the first 15 finishers in each race.

Two Franklin County schools qualified their teams for competition in Saturday’s race, as the Frontier girls and the Mohawk Trail boys punched their tickets thanks to top seven finishes at least weekend’s state qualifier in Westfield. Several local individuals also earned spots in Saturday’s race, and the MIAA website lists 16 area runners in the Division 3 field between both races.

“It’s exciting to have it back after having only six races last year,” Frontier coach Bob Smith said of the state meet. “The girls have worked very hard to get here. They’ve committed to working hard so we can have a good showing. Division 3 is strong; there’s a lot of really good teams who will be there. We would like to acquit ourselves well.”

The Mohawk Trail boys are led by senior Dennis Simmons, who helped the Warriors earn a team invitation thanks to a runner-up finish in his heat a week ago. Simmons has long been a fixture in the big races, and he was 78th in the last state meet contested back in 2019.

Other Mohawk Trail runners expected to compete include Vincent Gauthier, who ran well in last week’s event and was the team’s No. 2 scorer behind Simmons, as well as Sean O’Dean, Chay Mojallali and Tanner Biagini.

Frontier’s Luke Howard will represent his school as an individual on Saturday after qualifying, while a trio of Greenfield runners in Andy Bostrom, Jackson Caron and Ethan Bross are also expected to run.

“Luke is just an eighth grader,” Smith said. “He ran in the No. 1 spot for our team at every meet and qualified for the state meet as a 14-year-old. Whatever he does [Saturday] is great. I’m enjoying the moment.” 

The Frontier girls have impressed in the big meets this fall, and the Redhawks were an impressive third as a team in the sectional qualifier thanks to five runners inside the top 50 overall.

Sophomore Leah Gump was the team’s fastest runner in Westfield, placing 14th overall, though Frontier’s depth has proven lethal to opposing teams this fall. Abigail Howard, Sadie Ross, Nicole Plasse, Sylvie DiBartolomeo, Sasha Malo and Ayla Starr are also penciled in to compete on Saturday, and the program has eyes on impressing at the state level.

Mohawk Trail’s Ellie Pinkham is the lone representative from her team in Saturday’s race, as the eighth grader qualified on the strength of an 11th-place performance in her heat of the sectional qualifier.


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