Div. 3 Cross Country: Mohawk Trail, Frontier show well at states

By HANNAH BEVIS

Staff Writer 

Published: 11-19-2023 4:31 PM

DEVENS – Evan Hedlund has been Frontier’s top performer all season, and he showed why he’s one of the best runners in the state on Saturday at the MIAA Division 3 Cross Country Championships at Fort Devens.

Hedlund walked away from Saturday’s race with a medal, placing 12th overall with a time of 16:38.73. The Redhawks finished 16th overall with 440 points; behind Hedlund, Luke Howard placed 95th (18:25.76) and Amory Maxey finished 113th in 18:39.33. 

Though Hedlund didn’t PR – it was actually his second slowest time of the season – nearly every runner had difficulty on the hilly course, and Hedlund was happy with how he executed his race plan. 

“They changed the course a lot. I think this was my best executed race this season. The course is way different than last year, it’s a lot slower, so it felt like a way faster effort,” Hedlund said. “I didn't just get nervous and go out too hard, or rest when I should have been going faster, (and) I feel like I made surges when I needed to.” 

The Frontier girls team had a tougher race, placing 18th overall with 357 points. Sylvie DiBartolomeo finished first for the Redhawks in 65th (21:59.82) while senior Leah Gump took 70th (22:03.52) and Nicole Plasse finished 91st (22:21.01). 

“We trained really hard, and we're just proud that we were able to get here and we're looking forward to hopefully making it next year and running just as hard,” DiBartolomeo said. 

WMass Connection

Mohawk Trail’s Vincent Gauthier felt like he was having a good race, working up a late hill and feeling good going into the final mile. But he started feeling it late in the race, until a familiar face from back home appeared next to him with some words of encouragement. 

“Coming off that hill and coming into this last stretch, I felt strong until over there, I was kind of feeling it kick me in the a** a little bit. But then Greenfield’s Jackson Caron came up, he passed me but he started talking to me, helping me along… I was really grateful for that. I was able to keep up and hold on until the finish stretch where it was an all out effort between me and him,” Gauthier said. “Running with Jackson is just so fun.” 

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Gauthier thanked Caron for his help by out-kicking him down the final stretch; Gauthier finished 23rd in 17:03.82 while Caron crossed the line less than a second behind him in 24th (17:04.63).

Mohawk Trail’s team finished 22nd overall with 513 points. Peter Healy was the Warriors’ second overall finisher with a 115th place finish in 18:41.40. 

Fleet freshmen feet

Virginia Krezmien was in the middle of an interview answer when one of her teammates wandered over to her and asked her a different question – did she know that her time made her the fourth fastest freshman in Mohawk Trail history? 

Krezmien had no idea – the freshman had just placed 21st with a time of 20:34.50, a personal best made all the more impressive because of how difficult and hilly the state course is. The freshman is only in her second year of running, and originally she wanted to play volleyball instead. Luckily for the Warriors, one of her teachers saw her speed during a game of capture the flag and told her she should join the cross-country team. 

“It feels really good, and this is surprising. This is my second year of cross country. Last year, I came in and I was like the fifth runner. And then over the winter when I came to track, I started just improving a lot,” Krezmien said.

Besides her own performance, Krezmien was also excited the Warriors were finally able to best rival Frontier, something they didn’t expect going into the race. Helping the team to 16th place was Natalie Lanoue (71st, 22:05.35), Valerie Bzomowski (82nd, 22:15.36) and Anya Read (83rd, 22:15.44). 

“I'm really, really proud of the girls. I'm just so happy, I can't even describe it,” Krezmien added.