Mount Greylock girls cross-country team captures D-II title at MIAA All-State championship meet

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MIKE WALSH - THE BERKSHIRE EAGLE
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WRENTHAM — Thirteen girls finished in front of Mount Greylock's Jackie Wells in the Division II race at the MIAA All-State cross-country championships. It was an unusual feeling for the freshman sensation, who added an individual Western Mass. championship to her pile of first-place finishes last weekend. However, what those 13 student-athletes from various schools throughout the state didn't have, was what Wells could hear pounding behind her.

The Greylock girls put five scoring runners in the top 50, using excessive depth and steady individual performances to capture the 2017 team title in D-II.

And it wasn't close.

"I told the girls all season, I think we are the deepest team in Division II in the state," said Greylock coach Larry Bell. "I wasn't lying to them. It's still shocking. To win a state title, Greylock doesn't realize how rare it is. We've had so many comparatively, but it's been like 22 or 23 years since we won our last one."

Despite Wells being the lone Mountie to squeeze in a top-15 medal during the post-race awards ceremony, she was joined just a few minutes later by her nine varsity teammates and two coaches to receive the MIAA trophy. Greylock captured the title via an 87-125 score over second-place Nauset. Lenox scored 126, narrowly missing out on the celebrations.

"I definitely knew I had to go out there and do my hardest, and I knew my teammates would do the same," said Wells. "The boys came over from our team and told us that we won, and I think we were just in shock. We're all super proud of ourselves and our alternates and everyone did so much to get here.

"The big meet always changes up your strategy and you adjust. I went out faster than I thought I would, I tried to go out hard and felt like I was in a good place. I knew if I could get a couple people it would help, every place counts."

Nauset stuck two girls in front of Wells, taking a 10-22 lead on the Mounties after Lilly Wells nailed down a No. 22 finish. From there, though, Greylock's depth took over. Josie Smith finished in 19 minutes, 57.13 seconds, out-legging the Warriors' Izzy Nobili by just one place. When freshman Hazel Scullin crossed in 20:21.91 for 47th place, the race was in the bag.

Scullin was actually the fifth and final scoring harrier for Greylock, as fellow youngster Helen Greenfield put together an incredible performance to slide into the No. 4 slot for the Mounties in 20:08.99.

"It was a lot of fun. Usually I'm not top five, but I thought I'd try to stick with Josie, but she's crazy fast," said Greenfield. "I process [winning the championship] all over again every five seconds, and then again and again."

Bell had some difficult decisions to make entering the meet. For the first couple days of the week, his girls were showing signs of fatigue after getting beaten up by Northfield Mountain during their sectional win last Saturday. Knowing what a course like that could do to high school runners, he made the choice to sub in the fresh legs of Greenfield and Miriam Bakija to run the state meet in place of his No. 6 and 7 from Western Mass., Mackenzie Sheehy and Margo Smith. With Sheehy and Smith chief among the cheering crowd lining the Wrentham Developmental Center course, the results were telling.

"It's a little hard to process, I needed to see the paper to be sure," said Lilly Wells. "I knew we had a strong shot coming in today. We had a great race last week and were all very excited, but nervous."

After narrowly missing out on a fourth straight sectional crown by three points to Greylock last weekend, Lenox swallowed another bitter pill by landing one point behind Nauset. Racing without Tate Morrison, the Millionaires still got excellent performances across the board.

Freshman Ellen Huth battled the leading group throughout the flat 5K, ultimately finishing 17th in 19:26.51. Seventh-grader Ava Bachman stepped up big time to be Lenox's second scoring runner in 33rd. Maggie Sorrentino landed 44th, with Marion Huth and Alice Najimy rounding out the 126 points.

"In terms of the girls, we were down one of our top runners, but the others pulled through. I'm very proud of them," said Lenox coach Jeanne Teasedale. " Ava wasn't happy last week at Western Mass. and came out today and ran an incredible race. It just wasn't enough. The kids had fun, they got together and wanted to go congratulate Greylock. When they're competing, they're competing, but off the course they're just girls who love to run."

After the meet, the Millionaires emerged from their tent all smiles and spent 20 minutes huddled up with Greylock chatting about everything from the race to homework assignments.

"Starting back in ninth grade, we've become really good friends with all the Greylock girls," said Najimy. "We're competitive on the course, but then running is such a hard sport that after you cross the finish line it doesn't matter what school you go to."

"It's a great connection between the teams," added Lilly Wells. "I see maroon jerseys, I'm rooting from them too."

Also competing in the Division II race was Monument Mountain senior Grace Phair. The Spartans star qualified as an individual and ran a strong state race to finish 48th in 20:22.66.

In the Division I race that followed and capped off a four-race day in muddy Wrentham, Taconic's Mary Hayes was the top local finisher. The Braves veteran put a cap on an outstanding senior season with a 20:40.06 submission, good for 113th overall. Wahconah's trio of Haley Crosier, Dani Orlando and Gabby Orlando followed.

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Division II

Top 3 teams — 1. Mount Greylock 87; 2. Nauset 125; 3. Lenox 126.

Top 10 — 1. Sarah Roffman (Littleton) 18:12.40; 2. Madaket Nobili (Nauset) 18:26.98; 3. Eve Feuerbach (Manchester) 18:28.73; 4. Ashley Walker (Westwood) 18:35.20; 5. Rachael Johnson (Coyle) 18:38.49; 6. Stephani Casaletto (Austin) 18:39.79; 7. Kaitlyn Roffman (Littleton) 18:40.84; 8. Mari Avola (Stoneham) 18:49.80; 9. Meghan Davis (Mohawk) 18:54.64; 10. Sarah Conant (Westwood)18:57.15.

Berkshire County runners — 14. Jackie Wells (Greylock) 19:05.14; 17. Ellen Huth (Lenox) 19:26.51; 22. Lilly Wells (Greylock) 19:40.50; 31. Josie Smith (Greylock) 19:57.13; 33. Ava Bachman (Lenox) 19:58.91; 39. Helen Greenfield (Greylock) 20:08.99; 44. Maggie Sorrentino (Lenox) 20:20.34; 47. Hazel Scullin (Greylock) 20:21.91; 48. Grace Phair (Monument) 20:22.66; 54. Miriam Bakija (Greylock) 20:29.29; 58. Marion Huth (Lenox) 20:31.19; 61. Alice Najimy (Lenox) 20:32.37; 69. Kate Swann (Greylock) 20:43.03; 139. Peggy Yee (Lenox) 22:2.98; 167. Chloe Doyle (Lenox) 23:39.39

Division I

Top 3 teams — 1. Concord-Carlisle 116; 2. Wellesley 122; 3. Tewksbury 143.

Top 10 — 1. Grace Connolly (Natick) 17:50.18; 2. Margaret Donahue (Wellesley) 18:07.53; 3. Bridget Mitchell (Milton) 18:08.39; 4. So Jacobs-Townsley (Amherst) 18:19.12; 5. Rebekah James (Shepherd Hill) 18:48.12; 6. Caroline Barry (Newton South) 18:49.17; 7. Sophie DeFreitas (Lincoln-Sudbury) 18:51.77; 8. Einat Gavish (Newton North) 18:51.99; 9. Ashley Foley (Beverly) 18:53.92; 10. Tess Reyes (Algonquin) 18:56.42.

Berkshire County runners — 113. Mary Hayes (Taconic) 20:40.06; 116. Haley Crosier (Wahconah) 20:42.70; 160. Danielle Orlando (Wahconah) 21:42.60; 171. Gabrielle Orlando (Wahconah) 22:12.02.

Mike Walsh can be reached at mwalsh@berkshireeagle.com, at @CLNS_Walsh on Twitter, and 413-496-6240.


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