Hoosac Valley girls place 5th at Western Mass., Monument 8th


SPRINGFIELD - Berkshire County came away with a pair of top-10 finishes at the Western Massachusetts girls meet on Sunday afternoon.

Hoosac Valley led the way with a fifth-place finish that was highlighted by Cori Ghidotti's second-place result in the 100 breaststroke. Monument Mountain was the other team in the top 10, finishing eighth.

St. Joseph was 15th and Pittsfield was 19th to round out the county team scoring.

The Hurricanes brought the county's largest contingent of swimmers competing (eight) in individual events and it paid off.

"It's really exciting because I don't think we've ever had this many people go to Western Mass. before," Hoosac Valley's Alyssa Bush said. "So we had a lot of top places, like our relays and [Cori]. So it's really exciting for us because we've never got to experience it before."

Ghidotti made a huge leap in the 100 breaststroke. She was seeded eighth, which put her in the heat before the fast heat. She dropped five seconds off her seed time and beat all but one person in the fast heat to finish second.

Her ability to perform in the postseason shouldn't come as a surprise. She did something similar two years ago, her sophomore year. She was seeded ninth and dropped nearly four seconds to finish third.

"I just worked really hard these past couple weeks," said Ghidotti, who also finished seventh in the 100 free. "Eat healthy, have to sacrifice a lot just for this meet and next week's meet. Then again, [coach Erin Brewer], she has gotten a lot of good workouts for us. This taper week has been good for us."

Ellie Field (seventh in 100 butterfly), Emma Whitney (ninth in 100 backstroke, 10th in 100 fly) and Liz Bernardy (fifth in 100 breast) had Hoosac's other top-10 finishes. They all broke their seed times.

"I am ecstatic," Hoosac coach Erin Brewer said. "I can't believe it. I'm so happy for them; they worked so hard this season. I'm excited to see what they're going to do next week at states. "They had some great swims."

The Spartans, with just five competing in individual events, kept pace with Hoosac early on, actually leading Hoosac in the standings through seven events.

A big help in that was Monument's showing in the 200 IM. The Wilber sisters Emma and Maeve, coupled with Rowan Rice put three Spartan swimmers in the top 10, totaling 37 points.

Maeve placed third after being seeded fifth, Emma was seventh, matching her seed time and Rice was ninth, also matching her seed.

Caroline Bissaillon's fifth-place finish in the 50 free and ninth-place result in the 100 free also boosted Monument's score early.

"These girls, they've trained hard all year, some of them since before high school season even started with their club team," Monument coach Jill Svirida said. "They all dropped time; that's good. And did what they wanted to do and that's the result."

What was already shaping up to be a great showing ended with a bang in the final heat of the 400 free relay, which also concluded the meet.

The Spartans were seeded sixth in 3:58.11. The team of Emma and Maeve Wilber, Rice and Bissaillon bested that by nearly nine seconds to finish fourth.

"We just had really good times," Maeve said.

"The practices helped a lot," Emma said.

Svirida was keyed-in on Bissaillon's performance in the anchor leg.

"She was two seconds faster than her 100 free," the coach said. "That was a killer swim for her."

The Hurricanes broke their seed times in 14 of 18 events, and Monument did it in 10 of 12.

St. Joseph freshman Jessie Tobin highlighted finishes by the rest of the county's swimmers. She finished third in the 50 free and fourth in the 500 free.

The Crusaders 200 medley relay team, which qualified last week at the Berkshire County Individual meet placed 10th.


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