PITTSFIELD -- In terms of postseason importance, Friday’s Western Mass. Division I team meet is bigger for Pittsfield and Taconic’s track and field teams than Wednesday’s dual at THS.
The General boys, though, had unfinished business.
Behind two event wins each from Keiland Cross and Tyler Panetti, as well as 1-2-3 sweeps of three events, Pittsfield beat Taconic 99-42, finishing a perfect Berkshire County season and reclaiming the county championship.
Pittsfield’s girls finished the sweep with a 1011Ž2-401Ž2 win.
Panetti won both the discus (110 feet, 2 inches) and javelin (135-3), while Cross won the high jump (5-6) and 110 hurdles (a personal-best 16.5 seconds). In fact, Pittsfield finished county duals without losing a single point in the high hurdle event. Each dual, the order of finish was the same from 1-3: Cross, Ty Discoe and Aaron Coty.
It’s safe to say, then, that PHS held back little, even with Friday’s Division I meet looming.
"We’re going to go as hard as we can, but hold back as much as we can if we’re going to win," Cross said. "If I’m 5 seconds ahead of somebody, I’m going to slow down as long as we get first place."
Very few competitors, if any, seemed to let up. Taconic’s boys swept the sprint events, with Dominic Nda (11.1) winning the 100 and Patrick Boua (23.1) winning the 200.
PHS won the 400-meter relay due to a Braves disqualification, but both Boua and Nda said they’ll use it as a lesson and as motivation for Friday.
"I think that we can have a good shot at winning it," Nda said. "We just have to work on our handoffs in the zone."
Lauren Farry won the 1,600 and 3,200 races for Pittsfield’s girls, who also swept the relay races and got two event wins (100 hurdles, 200) from Taylor Patti. For Taconic, Courtney Luscier won three events -- the 100 (13.0), the long jump (15-1) and the triple jump (30-9).
This meet was originally scheduled for Tuesday, which forced coaches to shift their athletes in some events.
"It was tough with the meet being moved [back] one day," PHS girls coach Stephanie Ambrose said. "We moved them around a bit so they’d be ready for divisionals."
Taconic sophomore Keiana West is still trying to qualify for the Western Mass. individual meet in the 100 hurdles and the 200, and might have gotten there had she not hit the final hurdle Wednesday. Undeterred, though, West popped back up and charged through the finish.
It’s more motivation for her, especially heading to divisionals.
"I’m not holding back," West said. "It’d be a lot more nerve-racking for Division I. To wait for [the meet] is a bad idea."
Pittsfield’s girls will take it easy today, with just one day between meets. Some may work technique, Ambrose said, but nothing more than that.
For the PHS boys -- who were cheered on Wednesday by alumni Steven Sumpter and Kamaar Taliaferro, key parts of Pittsfield’s last county championship squad two seasons ago -- the regular season is over, and the focus on the postseason begins now.
"We’re a really close-knit group. But now the real season starts," Peter Wilke, who won the 800 for PHS, said. "The other teams in the Pioneer Valley are really strong.
"As a team, we’ll have a lot of high finishes, and hopefully we’ll be deep enough to be competitive."
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