Championship Week: Off and running

WESTFIELD – Championship Week has arrived!
After several area teams were awarded postseason berths for above-average regular season performances, the chance to show that Midas touch now presents itself. The opportunity to go above and beyond is here.
The Southwick-Tolland and Gateway Regional girls’ soccer teams begin their tournament runs Monday. On Tuesday, Westfield, Southwick, and Gateway compete in boys’ soccer quarterfinals.

... And they're off and running in the Pioneer Valley Interscholastic Athletic Conference championships Saturday at Stanley Park. (Photo by Lynn Boscher)

… And they’re off and running in the Pioneer Valley Interscholastic Athletic Conference championships Saturday at Stanley Park. (Photo by Lynn Boscher)

Southwick field hockey, which stunned Turners Falls in the quarterfinals, now gets a crack at upending unbeaten No. 1 seed Greenfield in the next round.
While the fate of the country will begin to play out with Tuesday’s presidential election, the debate as to whether or not the Westfield gymnastics program is one of the region’s best ever will continue to take shape Saturday at the West Sectional championships.
If Westfield can hold off pesky Minnechaug on their home turf in Wilbraham and capture its 10th straight sectional title, the Bombers will have run their win streak to 173-0 in the process.
The school’s football team, fresh off an epic win over Central will look to take the next step against fourth-seeded West Springfield in the Western Massachusetts Division 2 championship earlier in the day Saturday. The Bombers will take flight at Holyoke High’s Roberts Field. Kickoff is at 10 a.m.
On Sunday, the Western Massachusetts cross country championships will take over Stanley Park.
The Westfield boys’ and girls’ cross country teams finished seventh (264 points) and 10th (294), respectively, at this past Saturday’s Pioneer Valley Interscholastic championships at Stanley Park’s 3.1-mile course.
Gabe Piepergerdes (Westfield HS) was the fastest local boys’ runner, finishing in 16:45. Southwick’s Bill Carroll placed 25th (17:17). Holyoke’s Cameron Correia won the race with a time of 15:44.
Sophia Gronbeck (Westfield HS) was the first local girls’ runner to cross the finish line, completing the race in 20:24. Southwick’s Rebecca Drohen was 23rd (20:55). Amherst’s Sophia Jacobs-Townsley won in 18:18.
TIGERS EYE 2017: The No. 8 Westfield Technical Academy boys’ soccer team put together a fantastic regular season run, finishing 9-5-2, and came close to extended the excitement on into the postseason, but fell just short of that feat, falling to ninth-seeded Pioneer Valley Christian Academy 2-1 on penalty kicks Friday night at Bullens Field.
“This was a haunting flashback from two years ago,” Westfield Tech coach Kyle Dulude said. “I felt we had all the chances to score in regulation but no result.”
Still, there was much to celebrate.
“We only had three seniors this year; all of our starters are coming back,” Dulude said. “It was a good experience for these young players. “I’m very anxious to see what they do next year … For now, we just have to wait until then and know we built a strong foundation.”

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