WESTFIELD – Westfield High School hosted 2014 Western Mass cross country runner-up Amherst Pelham Regional High School at Stanley Park on Tuesday. The meet was also the inaugural developmental outing for Westfield Technical Academy under Coach Ralph Figy.
The Westfield girls’ team came out on top, 25-30, against Amherst for its first win since moving to the Pioneer Valley’s most elite division in 2012. The Bombers were coming off a loss to 2014 WM Champs Northampton last week and were seeking faster times and a good showing on their home course against the Hurricanes.
What Westfield delivered was far beyond what most expected.
Amherst’s Sophia Jacobs-Townsley (20:56) inched ahead of second place teammate Lydia Sawyer (20:57). Westfield’s Sophie Gronbeck followed in a close third with a personal best (21:10).
The excitement came in the form of a loose pack of girls that followed a minute behind and would decide the meet. The Bomber girls rose to the challenge and finished strong with black and red shirts taking fourth through seventh, with an all out sprint to the finish by rookie sophomore Mia McDonald (22:03), senior captain Carley Censabella (personal best 22:07), senior captain Madison Eline (22:30), and rookie junior Libby Irwin (22:22), to secure the victory.
Amherst’s Neosha Narayanan (22:25), Hannah Lebowitz (22:25), and Ariel Christy (22:34) rounded out the top 10 scoring positions.
Other noteworthy performances from Westfield included: rookie sophomores Mary Philpot (23:57) and Shyanne Jones (24:52), freshman standout Clara Hinck (23:09), and personal best times by juniors Victoria Sardinha (24:13) and Ally Davis (25:21).
WTA’s Joselyn Rodriguez (43:59), Paulina Ubanek (45:29) and Brittany Fountain (45:30) set a fine mark for their team’s debut outing. – Courtesy of Mike Rowbotham
McKinney, Couture pace Rams
Southwick 18, Pioneer Valley Regional 43
Southwick’s Emily McKinney and Reece Couture finished first and second, respectively, in 21:38 and 22:12. Rams’ Abby Howe (23:18), Maggie Drohen (23:23), and Sam Smith (23:44) finished 4-5-6 overall.
BOYS’ CROSS COUNTRY
Bombers’ new journey continues
Westfield kept pace with a skilled Amherst team during Tuesday’s meet at Stanley Park in Westfield. The Bombers displayed great spirit during their home opener. Rick Doiron, who served at the helm of the Westfield program over the past three years, now mentors new coach, Ben Hatch on his journey to push the team to greatness.
Westfield continues to drop race times as the season unfolds.
When asked about the team’s progress, senior captain Ben Jury responded: “All those hills are starting to pay off.”
Gabe Piepergerdes continued to lead the Bomber boys this season, hanging with some of the best runners in western Mass so far this season. With so many talented individuals in the area, how can one possibly be competitive? Senior captain Eric Johnson claimed to have the answer: “Don’t ask me why I run….. ask yourself, why you don’t!” – Courtesy of Benjamin Hatch
Rams sweep 1-4
Southwick 17, Pioneer Valley Regional 44
Jared Demaio (18:08), Jack Davis (18:34), Danny Sovlin (18:47), and Matt Corrigan (18:47) swept the top four spots for Southwick, which cruised to victory.
Rams’ Sean Costello (20:40) and Matt Jensen (21:57) were seventh and eighth overall, respectively.
Walk runs away with team’s top honors
St. Mary 15, Franklin Tech 50; Hampden Charter 27, St. Mary 28; Smith Voke 23, St. Mary 37; Gateway 18, St. Mary 39
St. Mary freshman Joe Walz led the team with a sixth place overall finish in 21:04. Saints’ sophomore Charlie Bonatakis was ninth overall (21:45).
Several St. Mary runners bested personal records by 1-5 minutes each, a significant improvement.