Greylock boys cross country gives Wahconah first loss; Klem, Kaegi earn victories
DALTON -- Something had to give here on Wednesday afternoon. After all, both the Mount Greylock and Wahconah boys cross country teams came into the meet undefeated.
Wahconah's Eric Klem passed Greylock's Tommy Kirby in the final 100 meters to win the individual race. While each team had four top-10 finishers, Greylock put its quartet in the top six and went on to finish 15-0 with a 26-29 win. It was the first loss for Wahconah (9-1).
"We dodged a bullet," Greylock boys coach Scott Burdick said. "[Wahconah] is a great team."
Greylock won three races at Wahconah, beating Drury 15-50 and Taconic 16-46.
Other boys scores were Taconic 15, Drury 50; Wahconah 15, Drury 50; and Taconic 27, Pittsfield 28.
In the girls meet, Greylock's Emily Kaegi won her second race in five days, finishing more than a minute ahead of Pittsfield's Lauren Farry.
The Mounties beat Drury 15-50, Wahconah 15-48 and Taconic 22-35. Taconic beat Drury 15-48 and Pittsfield beat Drury 15-50.
Greylock's Carter Stripp, Will Nolan and Sam Kobrin finished 4-6, respectively. That gave the Mounties enough of a margin, as Marcus Duncan finished third behind Klem and Kirby. Wahconah's Jackson Alberti was eighth and Ryan McMahon 10th.
"It doesn't get much better than this. It's on Wahconah's home course on senior day. They've had this date circled on the calendar since last May when the schedule came out," said Burdick. "I give them credit. They're a heck of a team. But I'll tell you what, the king ain't dead yet."
In the race itself, Wahconah's Duncan was the leader as the runners ran across the open field toward the football stadium and a final hill. Kirby was second and Klem was third at the time. As they came down the hill, it was Greylock's Kirby in the lead.
Rounding the final turn on the Wahconah track, Klem picked up speed and passed Kirby to win. Klem's time over 2.9 miles was 16 minutes, 19 seconds. Kirby was two seconds back.
"I just passed him at the top, so I knew he was close," Kirby said. "I knew he had a really good kick from track, so I wasn't sure if I could hold it."
Klem, who is in his first year as a cross country runner, agreed that his track experience and comfort on the Wahconah oval helped out.
"I try to stick with the [lead] guys as long as I can. Usually, when they run the track, I can take them," said Klem.
Greylock coach Larry Bell had a pretty matter-of-fact take on Kaegi's win on Wednesday. At Burnt Hills (N.Y.) on Saturday, Kaegi not only won against an impressive group of runners, she surpassed her personal best by 55 seconds.
"On Saturday, I told her that it's time to stop running comfortable and just running to win," he said. "We had nothing on the line Saturday, so I said to just go with the leaders. She was the one who broke the leaders at the 2-mile mark and the last mile alone."
By the time Kaegi got to the half-mile mark at Wahconah, she was pulling away from the field. Kaegi crossed the finish line with a time of 18:09 for the 2.9 miles. Only one other runner broke 20 minutes and that was Farry, who ran a 19:22 -- more than a minute behind the Mountie.
Kaegi said that running uncomfortably is more mental than physical, and that her win was a continuation of what she did in New York on Saturday.
"I normally don't go out hard. I normally kind of stay back and pick it up," said Kaegi. "Going out harder was what I decided to do today."
Greylock's Laura Galib, Pittsfield's Makayla Powers and Taconic's Kelsey Magri rounded out the top five.
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