Wednesday December 26, 2012

Boys
MVP: Scott Carpenter

Senior, Lenox

What's left to write? The All-Eagle MVP was unbeaten in Massachusetts, defending his county and Western Mass. championships and claiming the Division II state championship.

The coach's take: It's going to be just exciting to see him at the college level. We saw what he was able to do in the county and state, but at that next level, he'll have the competition that's going to push him.

-- Jeanne Teasdale, Lenox coach Dan Brien

Senior, Pittsfield

Pittsfield's best runner throughout the season, Brien's best race came on one of the Generals' biggest stages. The senior finished fourth in the Western Mass. Division I meet at Northfield Recreation Center, running the hilly course in 16:51.57. Brien also earned wins at Mount Greylock (Sept. 27), Reid Middle School (Sept. 19) and Taconic (Sept. 7).

The coach's take: He knew what he had to do for the team in order to secure our chances for the guys actually placing at Western Mass. The team asked for him to try and get a single-digit place, and he put them on his shoulders.

-- Michael Ortega, Pittsfield coach

Tucker McNinch

Sophomore, Lenox

McNinch was the Millionaires' second-best runner -- and that's no insult, considering the best runner was Carpenter. McNinch took second place in the Western Mass.


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Division II meet, holding off fellow All-Eagle runner Travis Ciempa by almost 2 seconds.

The coach's take: We talked about this. He was overshadowed a lot, of course, by Scott, but there have been times we've looked back at what the boys ran in previous years. He's been consistent, and the times have been outstanding this year. His main focus is to step into Scott's shoes.

-- Teasdale

Travis Ciempa

Sophomore, Hoosac Valley

Ciempa was one of the county's strongest sophomores, and will very likely be one of the Berkshires' strongest juniors in a year. The Hurricanes' leader on the course took third at Western Mass. (D-II), won races at home (Oct. 3) and at Taconic (Sept. 12), and finished in the top five in races at Monument, Greylock, Mount Everett and Wahconah.

The coach's take: He just took his time and built from the beginning of the season. If you look early on, every race, he was a little [closer] to front. He got some wins, and carried that momentum to run third at Western Mass.

-- Ron Namislo, Hoosac coach

Carter Stripp

Sophomore, Mount Greylock

The Mounties are strong in the Class of 2015, and have a good chance to defend their Western Mass. D-II team championship next year. Stripp is one of the keys to their success. He was the team's top finisher at Western Mass. (sixth), and earned overall top-three finishes at St. Joseph's (Oct. 10), Hoosac (Oct. 3), Greylock (Sept. 27) and Taconic (Sept. 12).

The coach's take: What Carter gave us -- and Carter and Will together ... we had two front-runners. Carter gave us that 1-2 punch, akin to what Lenox had. That normally doesn't happen. That's, I think, why we did so well in the county and Western Mass. If you noticed, during the season, when Will was off, Carter would have a good race.

-- Scott Burdick, Greylock coach

Will Kirby

Senior, Mount Greylock

Kirby was the other half of Greylock's 1-2 combination with Stripp. He was fourth in the W. Mass. D-II meet, won at St. Joe's (Oct. 10) and finished in the top five overall at Hoosac (Oct. 3), Greylock (Sept. 27), Mount Everett (Sept. 19), Taconic (Sept. 12) and Wahconah (Sept. 7). He was also Greylock's top finisher at the state meet.

The coach's take: The nice thing is, it's always like we groom the next one. Will learned from Matt [Cheung]. Now Will took Carter under his wing. What Will gives you is that leadership, and just continuing the tradition.

-- Burdick

Dylan Cole-Kink

Senior, Monument Mountain

A top-30 finisher at the Western Mass. D-II meet, Cole-Kink was a big part of Monument's state-qualifying squad. He ran a top-10 time at home (Oct. 10), and top-five times at Lenox (Oct. 3), Greylock (Sept. 27), Everett (Sept. 19) and Taconic (Sept. 12, Sept. 7).

The coach's take: He's a very disciplined guy. He worked very hard over the summer to get better. He led by example every day at practice, and that was a big asset to our team.

-- Ted Collins, Monument coach

Jackson Alberti

Junior, Wahconah

Alberti often led the Warriors on the course, and will no doubt be expected to do the same as a senior. He was fourth on his home course Oct. 17, fourth at Lenox Oct. 3 -- third at Lenox a week earlier -- second at Reid Middle Sept. 19 and fourth at Taconic Sept. 12.

The coach's take: There's no question Jackson is motivated to run to the best of his ability. This coming summer, I know he's going to train right. With a quality summer of training for him, next year, he's going to be very, very good.

-- Tom Keefe, Wahconah coach

Logan Morton

Senior, Monument

Morton was one of the Spartans' strongest senior runners. He was ninth in Western Mass. (17:58.02), fifth at Wahconah (Oct. 17) and at home (Oct. 10), and third at Lenox (Oct. 3) and Taconic (Sept. 7).

The coach's take: Again, a great racer with a great work ethic. I didn't have to ask. We had 10 races where [Logan and Dylan] ran together, and one of them won five and the other one won five. Certainly, the expectation is any of them would do that. These guys have been on the team for so long that it was just second nature.

-- Collins

Ben Herrick

Sophomore, Lenox

Herrick is among the best of many underclassmen expected to return for Lenox next fall. He just missed the top 10 at Western Mass., but was a top-10 finisher in meets at Wahconah (Oct. 17 and Sept. 7), Monument (Oct. 10), home (Oct. 3 and Sept. 28) and Everett (Sept. 19 and Sept. 13).

The coach's take: We said, ‘Oh, we've got a couple more years here.' It's such a strong field in the county, the sophomores. Ben is the most dedicated runner I've ever coached. If the difference is between us winning or losing, he's going to run through the pain. He was one of those who made suggestions of who had to be where, and he was a big influence on the team as well.

-- Teasdale

Matt Rabasco

Sophomore, Taconic

Carrying on the Rabasco name well for the Braves -- brother Mark now runs for Keene State -- Matt was a top-30 finisher in the Western Mass. Division I meet. In the county, he was a top-10 finisher at Wahconah (Oct. 17), Monument (Oct. 10), Hoosac (Oct. 3), Reid Middle (Sept. 19) and at home (Sept. 12 and Sept. 7).

The coach's take: If he does the things he's been doing, he'll be all right. Matt trained all summer long. He did the 500-mile club. He's probably the most consistent out of that [sophomore] group. I don't think many of them had as consistent of a season as Matt had.

-- Paul Phelps, Taconic coach

Cody Lucido

Senior, Pittsfield

Pittsfield's senior class led it to the Division I state meet this season, and Lucido's times were a big part of the Generals' success. He was a top-20 finisher at Western Mass. -- PHS' second-fastest finisher, in fact -- and earned top-10 finishes at Reid Middle (Sept. 19) and Taconic (Sept. 7).

The coach's take: He had a great year last year. He had a minor injury midway through the season, so he was hampered a little bit, and he was taking it easy. He had about a three-week break ... but once the knee started to get better, he picked it up.

-- Ortega

Sam Kobrin

Sophomore, Greylock

Kobrin will likely be a key returner for the Mounties as a junior. He was a top-15 finisher at Western Mass., a top-10 finisher in the county championship (Nov. 3) and Hoosac Valley (Oct. 3), and a top-five finisher at St. Joseph's (Oct. 10).

The coach's take: We don't go anywhere without Sam. Sam made me look good. He got better and better as the season went on. You need that one of your pack guys who's going to be chasing your front-runners to get your pack close. He was our most improved runner this year, by far. What he did at the county race ... and this is the toughest our county has ever been ... He doesn't have that, we don't win [county or Western Mass.].

-- Burdick

Jon Lee

Senior, Pittsfield

Lee was a frequent top-10 finisher in county races for the Generals. He finished 10th or better at Wahconah (Oct. 17), Hoosac (Oct. 3), Greylock (Sept. 27), Reid Middle (Sept. 19), Everett (Sept. 13) and Taconic (Sept. 7).

The coach's take: Just one kid that I had a hard time reading, but every time he went out there to run, he came through. I can't say enough about him. He didn't have the greatest form, speed or anything, but he had the mindset.

-- Ortega

Ryan McMahon

Sophomore, Wahconah

McMahon is one of the Warriors' strongest runners, and will likely stay that way as a junior. He was a top-15 runner in the county championship, and a top-10 runner at home (Oct. 17, Sept. 7), Lenox (Oct. 3, Sept. 28), Reid Middle (Sept. 19) and Taconic (Sept. 12).

The coach's take: He's got the talent to run really fast. If he puts in a good summer and he's motivated to run, I think he will surprise a lot of people.

-- Keefe

Girls
MVP: Lauren Farry

Sophomore, Pittsfield

The MVP was fifth overall in the Western Mass. Division I meet (20:40.04), helping the Generals return to the state meet as a team. In regular-season races, Farry was unbeaten -- with an illness that forced her out of the county championship race as the only blemish in the Berkshires.

The coach's take: She's definitely maturing as a runner. She's learning racing strategy. She learns from her races.

-- Theresa Apple, Pittsfield coach

Kalyn Alibozek

Junior, Hoosac Valley

Alibozek, winner of the county championship race, was third in the Western Mass. Division II meet in 20:52.59. She also earned wins at Mount Greylock (Oct. 19) and Wahconah (Sept. 7). Alibozek was faster at Northfield in the state race (20:27.02) than she was on the same course for Western Mass.

The coach's take: When we went to county, it was a major goal for us to try to run up front and finish at least in the top two. With things the way they worked out, she took advantage of an opportunity and won the thing. We took that momentum and took it to Western Mass.

-- Ron Namislo, Hoosac coach

Kat Chenail

Senior, Mount Greylock

Chenail was the fourth-place finisher in the Western Mass. D-II race (20:56.9), and also earned top-three finishes at home (Oct. 19), St. Joseph's (Oct. 10, a win) and Taconic (Sept. 12). In the state race at Northfield, she cut nearly 24 seconds off her Western Mass. finish on the same course a week earlier.

The coach's take: What's more amazing is she cut a minute off her previous best on that course [at Western Mass.], and then cut 24 seconds. It's probably the fact that she just worked so incredibly hard last summer. She's battled through injuries, and she did a lot of strength training over the summer. That strength helped change her stride to become longer and more efficient.

-- Larry Bell, Greylock coach

Emily Kaegi

Junior, Greylock

An All-Eagle co-MVP last year, Kaegi was the first Berkshire County girl to cross the finish line at this year's D-II state meet (20:00.29). She finished second at Western Mass. (20:03.15), and earned county race wins at Mount Everett (Sept. 19) and Taconic (Sept. 12).

The coach's take: Next year's going to be uncharted territory for Emily [without Chenail]. They have made each other good. The thing that most impressed me [about Emily] was that she made a choice to do some leadership opportunities this summer, and she couldn't run [for 5 weeks]. Her times were a little off. By the end, her times were as fast as ever. She has the foresight of an old person that knows 2-3 months isn't enough time for me to get back to where [she] was.

-- Bell

Mackenzi Powers

Junior, Pittsfield

A key to Pittsfield's return to the Division I state meet as a team, Powers was 15th in the Western Mass. meet (21:45.57), the third PHS runner to score. She earned top-five finishes this season in county meets at Hoosac Valley (Oct. 3), Greylock (Sept. 27), Reid Middle (Sept. 19, second place), Mount Everett (Sept. 13) and Taconic (Sept. 7, second place).

The coach's take: Mackenzi's just a gritty, determined runner. Clearly talented. She has a lot of mental toughness.

-- Apple

Makayla Powers

Junior, Pittsfield

Powers was the second-fastest General in the Western Mass. D-I meet, taking 11th place in 21:21.57. She earned county top-five finishes at Wahconah (Oct. 17, second place), Monument (Oct. 10), Hoosac (Oct. 3), Reid Middle (Sept. 19) and Taconic (Sept. 7).

The coach's take: Makayla has a passion for running, and I think that's her strength. She's really strong physically, and mentally determined.

-- Apple

Liza Smith

Sophomore, Pittsfield

The younger sister of former All-Eagle runner Hannah Smith has made a name for herself. She was sixth in the county championship race at BCC, the fourth General across the finish line at Western Mass., and a top-10 runner in county races at Monument (Oct. 10), Hoosac (Oct. 3), Greylock (Sept. 27), Reid Middle (Sept. 19), Everett (Sept. 13) and Taconic (Sept. 7). Smith earned her spot on the All-Berkshire and All-Eagle teams via a run-off at the county championship.

The coach's take: She was starting to enjoy running and seeing improvement, and it was cut off [by a broken elbow last year]. That, I think, made her more determined to come back this year. I think sometimes character is shown by not getting something you want. She was going to get [a spot on the team], and she did.

-- Apple

Hannah McClusky

Junior, Lenox

McClusky was the upperclassman leader for a young, talented -- not to mention Western Mass. champion -- Millionaire squad. She finished second in the county championship meet (20:48.87), 14th at Western Mass. (21:55.45) and was a top-five runner in county races at Wahconah (Oct. 17 and Sept. 7), at home (wins on Oct. 3 and Sept. 28) and Mount Everett (Sept. 19 and Sept. 13).

The coach's take: She stuck with it [through pain in her side] until that last mile [at Western Mass.]. At Western Mass., when we needed her, she knew what was at stake.

-- Jeanne Teasdale, Lenox coach

Emily Tibbetts

Freshman, Lenox

Tibbetts was the second Millionaire across the line at the county championship race, taking fourth (21:06.01). A top-20 finisher in Western Mass., Tibbetts was a top-10 runner in county races at Monument (Oct. 10), home (Oct. 3 and Sept. 28), Mount Everett (Sept. 19 and 13) and Wahconah (Sept. 7).

The coach's take: Each year, she really keeps getting stronger and stronger. A lot of times, she went out really fast, but was able to [keep] that pace and stay right behind Hannah.

-- Teasdale

Heather Hassett

Junior, Monument Mountain

Leading Monument's girls team to the state meet, Hassett saved some of her strongest races for the postseason, taking third in the county race (20:52.08) and fifth at Western Mass. (21:00.73). She was a top-five runner in county races at Wahconah (Oct. 17), home (Oct. 10), Lenox (Oct. 3) and Taconic (Sept. 12 and 7).

The coach's take: From the very beginning -- she ran in her first cross country race this year -- so much of it is about experience and figuring out what you can do individually. She's as tough as anybody I've coached in any sport, as far as physical and mental toughness.

-- Chris Unsworth, Monument coach

Elizabeth Jarck

Freshman, Lenox

Jarck's 14th-place finish in the county race was overshadowed a week later by her ninth-place finish (21:31.36) at Western Mass. She was the first Millionaire across the finish line, leading the way to a Western Mass. team championship. Jarck was also a top-five runner in county races at Monument (Oct. 10), home (Oct. 3 and Sept. 28) and Mount Everett (Sept. 19 and 13).

The coach's take: Her defining moment really came in the middle of the season, in our second home meet. She really took off and it showed us what she could do. She finished right behind Hannah, and she did not stop [after that].

-- Teasdale

Maeve Wilber

Sophomore, Monument Mountain

Wilber just got better as the season neared its end. She was a top-10 finisher twice in the postseason -- fifth in the county championship (21:06.35) and eighth (21:29.29) at Western Mass. Before that, she earned top-five finishes in county races at Wahconah (Oct. 17) and Lenox (Oct. 3).

The coach's take: Maeve was one of the core returnees this year, in terms of our top runners last year. I told her at the end of the year that I thought she was our most improved runner. What she was able to do in terms of improving her times really made a difference in our team.

-- Unsworth

Jordan Begley

Sophomore, Monument Mountain

Begley finished seventh at the county race (21:21.95), her best finish of the season. It wasn't her only top-10 finish in the county, though -- she also accomplished that at Wahconah (Oct. 17), Lenox (Oct. 3), Everett (Sept. 19) and Taconic (Sept. 12 and 7).

The coach's take: She's also one of the hardest-working kids I've ever been around. She's just discovered running a little bit last year. She's just somebody who's going to keep working at it, no matter what. She ran her first race this year as well. She knows what she wants to improve on, and there's no doubt in my mind that she's going to do it. I have to force her to take a day off from time to time. Not a bad problem to have.

-- Unsworth

Kate McNinch

Eighth grade, Lenox

Already a top-10 county runner in the championship race, McNinch is one of many fast underclassmen for the Western Mass. D-II champions. She was a top-10 runner in county races at home on Sept. 28 and Oct. 3.

The coach's take: It was a funny season for her, because she had to sit out one or two of our meets. She did well, but she had a back injury for a couple of weeks. Sometimes, kids lose their momentum or the running interferes with their pace. With her, she came back with a vengeance. She's so poised. She's quiet and she's mature beyond her years.

-- Teasdale

Sydnee Gallup

Sophomore, Hoosac

Gallup improved on her 10th-place finish at the county championship race (21:42.55) at BCC with a seventh-place finish in the Western Mass. D-II meet (21:23.46) at Northfield. She earned top-10 county finishes at Greylock (Oct. 19), home (Oct. 3) and Taconic (Sept. 12).

The coach's take: Her major advantage was she just broke away from everybody she ran with, and she tried to run with kids faster than her. She proved to herself that she could do it two weeks in a row.

-- Namislo

Capsules by Berkshire Eagle Staff