Thursday October 4, 2012

CHESHIRE -- Pittsfield High School's girls cross country team got the monkey on its back Wednesday.

Yes, on.

Thanks to an 18-37 dual win over Mount Greylock at Hoosac Valley, the Generals' girls claimed the stuffed monkey that has been a trophy between the teams for approximately 20 years.

"He's wearing PHS mittens and a PHS hat," Pittsfield coach Theresa Apple said. "He does have a Greylock scarf, though."

Although the Mounties rested their four top runners Wednesday, Lauren Farry's individual race win led Pittsfield on the new 2.9-mile course at the renovated high school. Farry finished the hilly, wet course in 20 minutes, 3 seconds, ahead of Hoosac's Kalyn Alibozek (20:24).

Travis Ciempa earned a home victory on the boys side. The Hurricane bested Pittsfield's Dan Brien by 2 seconds, winning in 17:08.

In boys duals, Pittsfield beat Taconic (19-41) and lost to Mount Greylock (22-33). Greylock beat Taconic (18-39), and Hoosac beat Taconic (23-32). PHS and Hoosac earned 15-50 wins over St. Joseph's, which currently has no male runners.

In girls duals, PHS beat Greylock, St. Joe's (15-46) and Taconic (25-39). Greylock beat Hoosac (24-33) and Taconic (21-36), while Hoosac beat Taconic (24-31).

Greylock's usual top four runners -- Emily Kaegi, Kat Chenail, Stephanie Adamczyk and Jenna Phelps -- were rested Wednesday due to an upcoming trip to Florida, where they will run Friday in the Walt Disney World Cross Country Classic.


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The Mounties' top finisher was Laura Galib, who took fifth in 22:15.

"As much as we really wanted to go after Pittsfield a second time, this ended up being an awesome day for us," Greylock coach Larry Bell said. "We knew we had to shift our focus to beating Hoosac. The second five ran incredible today."

Most Berkshire County courses pose challenges due to hills. So does Northfield Recreation Center, where the Western Mass. and MIAA state meets will be held. The challenge Wednesday for Farry was dealing with a hill at the beginning of the Hoosac course.

"They're all pretty hilly, but that one had two large hills instead of rolling hills," she said. "I didn't want to get passed at the finish. That was the only thing I was worried about. I coasted a little after the second hill, because I had [a bit of] a lead."

Pittsfield placed three other runners in the top 10 behind Farry. Makayla Powers was third in 21:40; Mackenzi Powers was fourth in 21:53; and Liza Smith was sixth in 22:24.

Apple and the Generals are already looking ahead to next Wednesday's dual against Lenox at Monument Mountain -- even if, as Apple joked, the Millionaires don't have a monkey to lose.

"They're deep, and it will be a challenge for any team this year with what [Lenox coach Jeanne Teasdale] has got," Apple said. "She's got talent, and she's got depth."

The top two boys in the race, Ciempa and Brien, both said they were dealing with colds Wednesday. Brien said that, given his condition, he ran the best he could.

"I might be able to do better another day, but I ran the best I could for how I feel," he said.

Brien noted that the second hill was the toughest part of the course for him. However, just as he did through sickness, he just had to push through it.

"There's really nothing you can do to help it," Brien said.

Ciempa admitted the home course was tough because of the hills.

"I think I've mastered the hills, because I work on hills so much," he said.

Mount Greylock placed four runners in the top 10. Carter Stripp (third, 17:27) led the way, followed by Will Kirby (fourth, 17:52). Sam Kobrin (eighth, 18:17) and Will Nolan (10th, 18:20) were Greylock's third and fourth runners. Taconic's Matt Rabasco was fifth overall in 17:58, followed by Hurricanes Jared Haley (18:08) and Trevor Ciempa (18:09).

To reach Matthew Sprague:
msprague@berkshireeagle.com,
(413) 496-6254.
On Twitter: @EagleSportsZone.