Mohawk’s Davis, Frontier boys look to shine

  • Mohawk senior Meghan Davis has won a lot of races in her career and on Saturday she will try for her first-ever WMass Division 2 title. file photo/Dan Little

  • Mohawk's Meghan Davis runs down the final stretch to a first place finish Tuesday at Highland Park in Greenfield, Oct. 9, 2018. Staff/Dan Little

  • Seniors Alex Sharp (back, left) and Carsten Carey will lead Frontier into the WMass Div. 2 meet for the final time as they look to qualify for their 4th straight State meet. FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 11/8/2018 11:07:43 PM

Mohawk Trail Regional High School runner Meghan Davis has some unfinished business in her illustrious career.

For nearly half a decade, the current senior has been making a name for herself on the cross country scene, and each year she has continued to outdo herself when it comes to postseason accolades. Now, in her final WMass Division II meet, she will be looking to pick up her first career victory.

Davis and the rest of the area runners will descend upon Stanley Park in Westfield Saturday for the WMass Championships. Action gets underway at 11 a.m. with the girls’ Division 1 meet, while the girls’ Division 2 meet kicks off at 11:40 a.m. That is followed by the boys’ Division 1 meet (12:20 p.m.) and the boys’ Division 2 race (1 p.m.).

The Frontier Regional School boys team is also looking to make its mark on Saturday as seniors Carsten Carey, Alex Sharp and George Balis will lead a Red Hawks squad that will attempt to win the WMass boys’ Division 2 team crown and make a return trip to next weekend’s state meet.

If the recent trend continues for Davis, Saturday should end in a victory. As a sophomore, Davis finished third at WMass, and last season she took second place, losing to former teammate and current Mt. Greylock runner Jackie Wells. Davis has worked hard over the past year to improve her speed according to Mohawk coach Joe Chadwick, and she will get her shot to come out on top of the rest of the field.

“I think she’s thought about (finishing second) since last year,” Chadwick said. “She ran at the state meet last year with a little more purpose and was the top western Mass. runner at that meet.”

The WMass meet was originally scheduled to be run at Northfield Mountain but due to recent rain, the course was deemed unusable and the move to Stanley Park was announced earlier this week.

“She would probably lean towards running hills, but she just wants to win and she is no stranger to that course,” Chadwick said. “When you work as hard as she does, I don’t think it matters a whole lot where you run. She has worked hard to get faster, so a flat course or a hilly course, I think she is going to be fine.”

Davis’ top competition comes from the Berkshires. Mt. Greylock freshman Josie Smith has actually been quicker than the aforementioned Wells this season and should challenge Davis, as will Lenox sophomore Ellen Huth. Emily Boutin of Pope Francis is another individual to keep an eye on.

Chadwick said Davis would like to break the 18-minute mark on the 5K course. She will not be the only Warrior runner looking to make some noise. After winning the Pioneer North title during the regular season, the Warriors also have their sights set on qualifying for the state meet as a team, which would require Mohawk finishing in the top three.

“When you have an athlete like Meghan, I say it’s our four against their five because Meghan will do her thing,” Chadwick said. “At PVIACs, we were the top Division 2 girls’ team. I think we are a better team than we even ran that day, and we will have to be.”

Mt. Greylock and Lenox enter the girls’ meet as the favorites, but the battle for third is wide open with Mohawk in the mix.

On the boys’ side, Frontier will look to build upon its recent success at the WMass meet as it tries to qualify for the state meet for the fourth consecutive year. The remarkable thing about the run is that Hall of Fame Frontier coach Bob Smith, now in his 40th year, had never had a team qualify for States prior to the recent run.

The current senior class is led by Carsten Carey and Alex Sharp, who have been the two lead dogs on the team for years. Even as freshmen, those two helped Frontier to a third-place finish at the WMass Division 2 meet in 2015 as Carey was the first Red Hawk across the line (placing 16th overall), and Sharp was the third (34th overall). The past two seasons have seen the Red Hawks place second at WMass, finishing behind Mt. Greylock both years. In 2016, Sharp finished second overall, and Carey placed 11th, while last fall Carey took second overall and Sharp finished fourth. Those two should both once again compete for an individual title.

As for the team crown, Frontier appears to be firmly in the mix to make it back to the State meet, but Smith warned his team about looking ahead.

“They really want to do well on Saturday, but no meet was ever run on paper,” he said.

Mt. Greylock once again comes in as the favorites to win the team crown, but Frontier is in the conversation. If Carey and Sharp do well, the eyes will be on the three runners. Carsten’s younger brother, Peter Carey, is a sophomore on the rise. He finished 22nd overall last season and has gotten stronger this year. Balis and Gehrig Brynda are the next two runners and if they can tighten the gap, Frontier will have a chance.

Smith said that the change in venue should not affect his team, although he believes his runners would have liked to run closer to home.

“I think they really wanted to run on the mountain,” Smith said. “When they were little, that’s where we used to practice a lot, so it has sentimental value. They enjoy the challenge of a mountain course.”

There will be plenty of other runners to look out for at the meet, many of whom are attempting to qualify for States as individuals. On the girls’ side, Frontier has some young up and coming runners on the team including eighth-grader Angelina Egland, who has come into her own this fall. Teammates Marie Diemand (junior), seventh-grader Leah Gump and eighth-grader Abigail Howard will also be in the mix. Greenfield’s Louisa Carme (eighth-grader) and sophomore Kandace Lu lead the Wave, and Mohawk’s Erica Szewczyk (freshman), Erika Looman (junior) and Carli Cusimano (junior) have paced the Warriors.

Mohawk freshman Dennis Simmons qualified for the state meet last year and has led the Warriors this fall. Teammate Guy Rice-Lesure (senior) and freshman Sean O’Dea have been the next two runners to pace the group. Mahar’s Thor Mead and Connor Vallaincourt have led their team, and Tyssen LaBombard, Alex Tirrell, Dylan Badillo and Andy Bostrom have led Greenfield.

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