Silver lining

WILLIAMSTOWN – Only one was better.
The West Division 3 golf championships may not have brought out the best in Mother Nature on Tuesday, but St. Mary’s senior golfer Luke Willenborg sure did shine brightly on an otherwise cold, overcast day.
Willenborg gave a silver-medal worthy performance at the Waubeeka Golf Links, shooting a 77 on a soggy course that became even more challenging with occasional rain showers and bursts of wind.
Lee’s Thomas Fraser shot a 71 to help his school capture a team championship with a 349. Monson finished second overall with a 351.

St. Mary’s senior golfer Luke Willenborg tees off to begin the West Division 3 golf championship Tuesday at the Waubeeka Golf Links in Williamstown. (Photo by Chris Putz)

“I’m definitely proud of the way I battled even through the tough conditions,” Willenborg said. “I just kept grinding through the weather with crucial putts that kept the momentum of my game going.”
The Saints senior golfer struggled somewhat at the outset with rain showers cropping up and brief gusts of wind wreaking havoc.
“It was unpredictable when hitting my shot,” Willenborg said. “It was definitely weird.”
Still, he pushed on and overcame a rough start.
Willenborg birdied the par-5 eighth hole, and took off from there. On the ninth hole, he hit a 10-footer to make par, and then after that a series of longer putts.
“That helped me stay focused and on track,” Willenborg said.
At the end of the competition, the sun emerged from the clouds. With that, two golfers emerged from the pack unscathed.
It was the second straight year that Fraser and Willenborg finished 1-2 atop their divisional foes. With the second-place finish, Willenborg advances to play in the D3 state championships next Monday at Black Swan Country Club in Georgetown.
Westfield Technical Academy golfer David Romani also participated.

Bombers keep postseason hopes alive
Westfield 2, Agawam 1

Brendan LaForest scored twice to lift Westfield to a key road win Tuesday.
Mike Grachowski served up a ball for LaForest on a free kick with two minutes left in the first half. LaForest buried it on a header.
Soon after, LaForest picked the Agawam back’s pocked and buried the game-winner. Jimmy Hagan assisted.
“He had an amazing game,” Westfield coach Andrew Joseph said. “Our best player certainly stepped up today and took control of the game. Brendan was fantastic today.”
Westfield goalie Mike Lurgio made some key saves, including a stop on a penalty kick in the second half.
“He was fantastic as well,” coach Joseph said of his senior keeper. “We put a big emphasis on this game the previous week. A lot of our younger guys played against Longmeadow and ate up all those minutes, while the guys who played the night before rested. We’re thrilled with this win. It puts us in a decent position now to qualify.”
“This was a huge win for us. We’ll trying to keep the train rolling.”
It was a significant victory for Westfield (6-10), which takes over second place in the Churchill League at 4-3. Belchertown (10-5-1) leads the league with a record of 5-1-1. East Longmeadow (3-3-1 Churchill), Agawam (3-4), and Northampton (1-5) round out the rest of the league.
A win or tie for Westfield against East Longmeadow on “Senior Night” Friday at Westfield State University at 7:30 would secure a tournament berth.
“Obviously we are playing for a win,” Joseph said.

Vasilchenko, Reynolds crack top five
Gateway 28, Palmer 28; Gateway 19, Southwick 43; Palmer 24, Southwick 38
Palmer took the top two overall spots with Cotton Hewes finishing first (18:16) and Domenic Rayleonard second (19:01).
Gateway’s David Vasilchenko and Jake Reynolds placed third and fourth in 19:47 and 19:53, respectively. Palmer’s Jack Baker finished fifth in 20:15.
Southwick’s Matt Jensen (20:51), Gateway’s Ben Drenen (21:36), Gateway’s Jared Small (22:09), Southwick’s Aiden Drenen (22:15), and Gateway’s Patrick Millin (22:23) rounded out the top 10.

Seniors moment
Southwick 2, Mahar 0

Southwick closed out the Bi-County League portion of its schedule with a shutout on “Senior Day.”
Gabby Houle started the scoring on the third phase of a corner with one minute left in the first half. The seniors took care of the scoring in the second half with a goal from Emma Barnard and an assist from Sydney Gorman.
Goalie Clare Stratton made 12 saves for Southwick (14-2-1 overall, 9-1 league), which closes out the regular season Thursday at Northampton.

Bombers sweep
Westield def. East Longmeadow 25-17, 25-8, 25-17
Madison Robitaille (4 kills, 1 ace), Tetyana Shvyryd (7 kills, 3 aces, 7 digs), Stephanie Sgueglia (2 aces, 10 digs), Tori Hosmer (3 kills), Lauren Jablonski (1 ace, 3 digs), Evelyna Legkodukh (1 ace, 3 digs), and Catherine Jones (7 kills, 1 ace, 3 digs) fueled the latest victory for Westfield (14-2 overall, 7-0 Western).
The win came on “Senior Night.”

Bombers sweep
Westfield (131.5) def. Agawam (120.15), Chicopee Comp (118.1)
Kylie Liptak and Miranda Wozniak finished 1-2 in the all-around competition with scores of 33.85 and 32.65 to lead Westfield past Agawam and Chicopee Comprehensive high schools.
Liptak was first on the uneven bars (8.65) and balance beam (8.45), and third on the vault (8.2). Wozniak placed second on the vault (8.25) and beam (8.15), and third on bars (7.95).
Westfield’s Rylee Altieri took first on vault (8.3).

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