2016 Berkshire County cross-country previews

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Boys Berkshire North

Lenox

Coach: Jeanne Teasdale (15th year)

2016 record: 0-2

Key returnees: Harry Burns, Jr.; Maxime Leger, Fr.; Ryan Silverstein, Jr.; Miles Marshall, Sr.

Outlook: Graduation over the last two years has depleted the Millionaires, so 2016 might be a bridge year of sorts as the next crop of runners learns the ropes and courses of Berkshire County. Coach Jeanne Teasdale has one senior this year — Miles Marshall — and four juniors. Junior Harry Burns is the top returning runner, having finished 26th at last year's Western Mass. Division II meet.

Four other runners — Maxime Leger, Ryan Silverstein, Marshall and Andrew Conlon — all ran at Western Mass. last year.

Monument Mountain

Coach: Ted Collins (11th year)

2016 record: 1-1

Key returnees: Michael Goretti, Jr.; Jared Henry, Jr.; Ethan Mazursky, Jr.; Nick Gray, Sr.

Outlook: The Spartans have a trio of juniors and one senior returning that will make up the top of Ted Collins' team. Jared Henry finished 33rd at the Western Mass. Division II meet last season, while classmates Michael Goretti and Ethan Mazursky and senior Nick Gray all finished within 15 spots of Henry at the sectional race. The key for the Spartans if they want to make noise in the county will be finding a fifth runner to join the pack. Whether that is one runner in particular or a different runner at each meet remains to be seen.

Mount Greylock

Coach: Scott Burdick (15th year)

2016 record: 2-0, defending Western Mass. Division II champions

Key returnees: Evan Arthur, senior; Jacob Fink, sophomore, Cameron Castonguay, senior; Owen Brandriss, junior

Outlook: The Mounties enter 2016 as the team to beat, once again, in Berkshire County. While Greylock lost its best runner from last year, Western Mass. champion Tommy Kirby, the Mounties bring back their other four placers from the Western Mass. meet, plus a host of other runners looking to get into the scoring positions.

The name to watch out for is Evan Arthur, the No. 2 runner last year. Arthur, along with Drury's Connor Meehan, will be a fixture atop any results list, and he finished 4th at the Western Mass. Division II meet last season. Around him, Cameron Castonguay, Sam Culver, Jacob Fink and Jesse Seid all ran at Western Mass. last year, and Owen Brandriss gives Greylock six solid runners to score points with.

Pittsfield

Coach: Mike Ortega (6th year)

2016 record: 1-1

Key returnees: Greg Fournier, Sr., Lucas Godwin, Sr.; Noah Shepardson, Sr.; Paul Wales, Jr.

Outlook: Veteran head coach Mike Ortega is cautiously optimistic about his team this fall. "At the moment, it looks like they can be a decent squad. Obviously, we have Greg [Fournier], a returning All-Berkshire runner," said Ortega. "He's put the miles on over the summer. With the returning guys and with the freshmen, we have some good prospects."

Fournier was 41st in the Western Mass. Division I meet at Stanley Park in Westfield last year, while teammate Lucas Godwin was 51st. Junior Paul Wales has, in the coach's opinion, "stepped up since practice started." Sophomore Steve Taglieri will also be part of the mix.

Taconic

Coach: Paul Phelps (10th year)

2016 record: 1-1

Key returnees: Ryan Serre, senior; Trevor Pelkey, senior.

Outlook: There's losing numbers to graduation, then there's this year's Taconic boys team. Coach Paul Phelps lost 14 seniors and five of his top seven runners from 2015. Luckily, he does welcome back two top 20 runners in seniors Ryan Serre and Trevor Pelkey. Those two, along with sophomore Zabion Powell, ran in the Western Mass. Division I meet last season.

With those two established at the top of the team list, the rest of the top 5 will come as runners step up to the challenge. A trio of sophomores — Powell, Brandon Pelkey and Gabe Carrington — will be in the mix for Taconic, as will two talented freshmen in Mike LaFrenrere and Jake Paris.

Berkshire South

Drury

Coach: Rob Colantuono (1st year)

2016 record: 0-1

Key returnees: Connor Meehan, Sr.; Ethan Mekdeci, Jr.; Kelby Lesage, Fr.

Outlook: The Blue Devils, as it stands, do not have enough members to fill out a scoring team for meets. What they do have, however, is a potential Western Mass. champion. Senior Connor Meehan, who finished second at Western Mass. last year and is coming off a phenomenal spring on the track, is a clear-cut favorite for county races, and should once again be at the top of the standings come the postseason. Drury's group is rounded out by junior Ethan Mekdeci and freshman Kelby Lesage.

Hoosac Valley

Coach: Dan Wehle (2nd year)

2016 record: 1-0

Key returnees: Derek Koffi-Ziter, Sr.; Aaron McAdoo, Jr.

Outlook: Coach Wehle has another small squad for the boys this season. After having just six runners last year, the Hurricanes are hopeful to have a few more runners out in 2016.

Senior Derek Koffi-Ziter and junior Aaron McAdoo return as Western Mass. runners from a year ago. Around them, the Hurricanes had a young crew run at their first meet last week, with eighth grader Justin Levesque finishing second on the team at Lee.

Lee

Coach: Art Reilly (3rd year)

2016 record: 0-2

Key returnees: John Free, Sr.; Sebastian Dowd-Smith, Soph.; Michael Comalli, Jr.

Outlook: Coach Art Reilly said he was really happy with his numbers this season, and although the Lee boys have to replace top runner Sam Harding, the Wildcats do return a good number of athletes from last year.

Senior John Free and junior Michael Comalli are two returning upperclassmen, but the strength of this team lies in the underclassmen. Sophomore Sebastian Dowd-Smith will stake a strong claim as one of the top runners for the Wildcats, and eighth graders Evan Heath and Jimmy Purcell give Reilly a bright future.

Mount Everett

Coach: Courtney Delorenzo (2nd year)

2016 record: 1-1

Key returnees: Kenny Edwards, Sr.; Jacob Makuc, Sr.; Julian Edelman, 8th grade; Josh Long, Soph.

Outlook: The Eagles return four of their five runners from Western Mass. last season, led by seniors Kenny Edwards and Jacob Makuc. This season, the Eagles' top five will stretch from grades eight through the senior duo. Julian Edelman, the eighth grader, and sophomore Josh Long also ran at Western Mass. last season. Two of the team's top runners could be newcomers — freshmen brothers Grayson and Cole Duval.

Wahconah

Coach: Matt Pegorari (2nd year)

2016 record: 2-0

Key returnees: Dan Brainerd, senior; Sam Pyser, senior; Zack McCain, sophomore

Outlook: The Warriors lost a few runners from 2015, but do return one runner and welcome another that will slide into the top roles on the team.

Dan Brainerd returns for his senior year and will be the team's top runner. He finished 75th at the Western Mass. Division I meet last season, Chris Campos, meanwhile, joins the team for his first season and showed a lot of promise in the distance events on the track last spring. Sam Pyser, another senior, will look to make a leap forward this year after racing at Western Mass. in 2015, as will sophomore Zack McCain.

Pioneer North

McCann Tech

Coach: Eileen Monyahan (2nd year)

2016 record: 1-2

Key returnees: Billy Gallipeau, Sr.

Outlook: After losing seven seniors from last year, the McCann Tech cross-country team will be rebuilding this year, with the team of eight runners including six underclassmen.

Senior Billy Gallipeau ran in last year's state vocational meet, finishing in 46th for the Hornets. Outside of Gallipeau, coach Eileen Monyahan said she is seeing some "great natural talent" in her younger runners, and expects them to improve rapidly as the season goes on and the runners gain experience.

Girls Berkshire North

Lenox

Coach: Jeanne Teasdale (15th year)

2016 record: 2-0, defending Western Mass. Division II champions

Key returnees: Emma Jourdain, Sr.; Maggie Sorrentino, Soph.; Alice Najimy, Jr.; Tate Morrison, Soph.

Outlook: In what will come as no surprise to those who have followed Lenox over the last few years, the Millionaires are stacked and primed to make another run at a state title in 2016. Senior Emma Jourdain and sophomore Maggie Sorrentino will challenge each other at the top of Lenox's team, and coach Jeanne Teasdale has a stable of runners behind them. Jourdain finished second at Western Mass. and eighth at the All-State meet, while Sorrentino was fourth at Western Mass. and 17th at the All-State meet.

Sisters Marion and Ellen Huth return, as does junior Alice Najimy. Tate Morrison is also back, as is senior Ella King. Teasdale has the runners to make up a formidable scoring team, the key now for Lenox is to get the times lower and the pack closer together as the season progresses.

Monument Mountain

Coach: Chris Unsworth (7th year)

2016 record: 0-2

Key returnees: Grace Phair, sophomore; Hannah Flynn, junior; Meryl Phair, senior; Maeven Broderick, senior

Outlook: The Spartans welcome back some serious firepower from 2015, and have a team that will be well-represented throughout the regular season and into the postseason meets.

Sophomore Grace Phair will make a strong case to be the No. 1 runner for coach Chris Unsworth, while her older sister Meryl, a senior, Maeven Broderick and Hannah Flynn all raced in the postseason last year. Meryl finished 17th at Western Mass. while Grace was 19th, and at the All-State meet Grace finished one spot ahead of Meryl.

Mount Greylock

Coach: Larry Bell (24th year)

2016 record: 2-0

Key returnees: Margo Smith, Soph.; Emily Lescarbeau, Sr.; Niku Darafshi, Sr.; Emma Polumbo, Jr.

Outlook: Margo Smith returns in 2016 to defender her All-Berkshire MVP title, although the sophomore might have to sacrifice the league honor to place higher in the postseason. Smith welcomed any and all challengers last year, but after slipping slightly at Western Mass. with an eighth-place finish in Division II, coach Larry Bell said Smith might rest more to move up that finish at Stanley Park in November.

The Mounties are stacked beyond Smith, though. Bell welcomes back five of his top seven finishers from last season. The No. 2 spot on the team will be a fight every week. Emily Lescarbeau and Niku Darafshi both ran at Western Mass. last year and will be top finishers, and Bell also noted the rise of Alice Glab since the end of last season. Junior Emma Polumbo will also be a key runner for the Mounties in 2016.

Pittsfield

Coach: Theresa Apple (18th year)

2016 record: 1-1

Key returnees: Lessley Columna, Sr.; Hailey Kirchner, Sr.; Olivia Douhan, Jr.; Cassidy Sandy, Jr.

Outlook: The Generals bring back several runners with Western Mass. experience this season, led by senior Lessley Columna. Columna finished 48th in the Division I meet last season. Senior Hailey Kirchner and junior Olivia Douhan also raced at Stanely Park last season and are back for 2016. The team will also get a boost from Cassidy Sandy, who had to sit out the end of last year with an injury.

Wahconah

Coach: Matt Pegorari (2nd year)

2016 record: 2-0

Key returnees: Gabby Orlando, Soph.; Katerina Bruce, senior; Danielle Orlando, sophomore

Outlook: The Orlando sisters are back to lead Wahconah, and both will make strong marks across the county in 2016 after racing to a 1-2 finish in the opening meet of the season. Gabby finished 20th at the Western Mass. Division I meet last season. The Warriors, though, aren't limited to just two runners. A senior trio of Katerina Bruce, Jessica Houle and Corry Psutka along with sophomore Madelyn Wendling gives coach Matt Pegorari a group of girls that will mix in behind the Orlandos to round out his top 5 runners.

Berkshire South

Drury

Coach: Rob Colantuono (1st year)

2016 record: 0-1

Key returnees: Brooke DiGennaro, Soph.; Taylor Giron, Sr.

Outlook: The Blue Devils aren't deep on numbers, but have a group that will allow the team to score in county meets, with at least one runner in contention for an All-Berkshire spot. Sophomore Brooke DiGennaro returns after finishing 30th at the Western Mass. Division II meet as the lone Drury runner. Senior Taylor Giron is also back, and classmate Sarah Lamarre joins the team for the first time.

Hoosac Valley

Coach: Dan Wehle (2nd year)

2016 record: 1-0

Key returnees: Jamie Barthe, Soph.; Paige Barrow, Soph.; Nataya Cilli, Soph.

Outlook: Hoosac Valley welcomes back a strong trio of runners to lead this year's Hurricanes, led by sophomore Jamie Barthe. Barthe was a top runner for Hoosac last year, finishing 24th at the Western Mass. Division II meet, and she is coming off a strong season on the track, as well. Classmate Paige Barrow also comes back for coach Wehle, and Nataya Cilli also returns back after racing for only half of 2015. Both of them had top 50 finishes at Western Mass. last season.

Lee

Coach: Art Reilly (3rd year)

2016 record: 1-0

Key returnees: Ava Martin, Soph.; Siobahn Rodgers, Sr.

Outlook: Sophomore Ava Martin returns after finishing 51st at the Western Mass. Division II meet last season, and will lead the Wildcats again in 2016. A bulk of Lee's runners are underclassmen, but seniors Siobahn Rodgers and Emelia Zukowski both raced at Western Mass. last season.

Some young names to look out for include eighth grader Amber MacDowell and freshman Melanie Cardaropoli, both of whom placed in Lee's top 5 at the Division II sectional meet in 2015.

Mount Everett

Coach: Courtney Delorenzo (2nd year)

2016 record: 0-2

Key returnees: Michaela Loring, Sr.; Janet Ngoyimwanza, 8th grade

Outlook: The Eagles are a young bunch this season, which means they have a lot of room for growth. Mount Everett has no returners from last year's Berkshire County Championships varsity race, although the duo of Michaela Loring and Janet Ngoyimwanza raced in the jayvee competition last season.

In the first meet of the season, freshman Carly Duval was the top Mount Everett finisher. Coach Courtney Delorenzo said that, while her group is inexperienced they are "young and enthusiastic" and ready to get better.

Taconic

Coach: Mike Menard (4th year)

2016 record: 0-2

Key returnees: Aubrey Lazits, Jr., Carli Scolforo, Sr.; Mary Hayes, Jr.

Outlook: The Braves welcome back a good group of runners from last year, led by senior Carli Scolforo and junior Aubrey Lazits. Lazits led the team at Western Mass. last year, finishing 56th in the Division I meet. Scolforo placed inside the top 75 for the Braves. Junior Mary Hayes wasn't far behind Scolforo at the sectional meet.

Scolforo will captain the team along with Rachel Tynan and Paige Hynman, and juniors Mary Decelles and Abby Mooney will also be in the mix for the top 5 spots for the Braves.

Pioneer North

McCann Tech

Coach: Eileen Monyahan (2nd year)

2016 record: 0-1

Key returnees: Hope Blake, Soph.

Outlook: The Hornets did not run in the 2015 state vocational tournament, as the team had a small group of runners and could not always qualify to score points. From that group, sophomore Hope Blake had a solid season and returns for the Hornets. Freshman Kayla Wilson emerged for coach Eileen Monyahan in the first meet of this season, and the coach expects those two to engage in some "friendly and healthy" competition this season.


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