Mount Greylock's Wells, Culver race to wins in cross-country meet at Lenox

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LENOX — Freshman Jackie Wells acquitted herself well in her first race in Berkshire County, racing to a first-place finish in the season-opening meet at Lenox. Mount Greylock teammate Sam Culver then made sure that the Mountie boys picked up right where they left off, leading a pack of five Greylock runners across the finish line on a rain-soaked afternoon.

Wells, who ran for Mohawk last year before her family moved to Williamstown, won in 20 minutes, 31.85 seconds, beating Lenox's Ellen Huth (20:52.56) — another freshman — and Maggie Sorrentino (21:34.91) to claim her first win in Greylock red. Wells was the top finisher from western Massachusetts in last year's MIAA Division II All-State meet, finishing in 11th.

"It feels awesome," Wells said of getting the win. "Running with my teammates, my new teammates, they've been great — just felt really included and it's been great. I love to have them."

Culver, meanwhile, took up the mantle that now-graduated Evan Arthur held last year. Culver, a senior, won in 17:55.51, beating teammate Jesse Seid (18:05.94) by 10 seconds. Josh Cheung (18:35.57), Owen Brandriss (18:36.66) and Jacob Fink (18:46.45) all crossed before Pittsfield's Paul Wales (18:47.54) and Amin Purry (18:53.06).

"It felt pretty good," Culver said. "I won a couple last year, but they were mostly because Evan didn't race or everyone got lost at Mount Everett. It felt good to really earn one this year, especially since it's my senior year and it's my last chance to be one of the best runners in the county."

In team results, the Pittsfield boys recorded two wins, beating Lee 19-42 and Lenox 27-28. Lenox beat Hoosac Valley, which is not fielding a full team this year, 15-50, and Greylock beat Lee 15-49. Pittsfield's win over Lenox came by place three runners in the top five of the team scoring, with Steve Taglieri's 12th-place finish overall coming five seconds before Lenox's Colin Young in 13th.

For the girls, Lenox beat Pittsfield 15-46 and Hoosac 15-50, while Greylock beat Lee 15-50 and Pittsfield beat Lee 15-50.

With the rain pelting both runners and spectators alike, there were some slips and trips that caught some runners, but for the most part the competitors on the day didn't mind the inclement weather too much.

"I like the rain," Wells said with a laugh and a drenched uniform. "It's kind of refreshing, I guess, if you are a runner."

"The rain kind of makes it almost fun," Culver added.

Wells' addition to Greylock, along with her older sister Lilly, will make this year's girls races more interesting. After the top trio, Lenox put Marion Huth across in fourth (21:54.81), then a Greylock quartet of Josie Smith, Katherine Swann, Margo Smith and Miriam Bakija crossed before Lee's Ava Bachman and Lenox's Tate Morrison rounded out the top 10.

"Yeah, I'm glad they moved to Williamstown," Greylock girls coach Larry Bell said. "It's about time we got one in instead of out.

"Jackie is the real deal. She's a talented kid who is young and having a ball, and that is hard to beat. She is just having fun out there."

She's also managed to make friends — both on her team and against her competitors.

Ellen Huth said that Wells is "fun to run with," and Wells said that her teammates are "super friendly and super great. It's just really nice to have them."

On the boys' side of things, Greylock continued its dominance in the county with six top 10 finishers, with Jakin Miller finishing eighth. Lenox duo Ryan Silverstein and Ted Yee finished ninth and 10th, respectively, and Lee's Sebastian Dowd-Smith finished in 11th, just one second behind Yee. In addition to the top 10 dominance, nine of the top 20 runners were from Greylock, including 7th grader Eamon Hetherington, who finished 20th.

Greylock boys coach Scott Burdick said he wasn't surprised by Culver's finish.

"That was pretty much what I expected out of Sam," Burdick said. "He had a great summer of running. He's looked really good in practice. Smooth, and he has speed he doesn't even know he has yet."

Culver, asked about his team's pack racing to finish 1-5, said that the first race was a good way to get his team thinking about running together.

"Yeah, I think we've sort of had a couple years of that, and hopefully this year we can get it together at the end and have a pack in the playoff races," he said.

Wales, meanwhile, walked away content with his finish, and his team's performance.

"I'm happy with the way we ran," Wales said. "It's early in the season, so it's good to know where we are as a team, and it's good to work toward the future and base your goals on for the rest of the year."

Burdick praised Pittsfield's 1-2 punch as capable competitors for the season.

"I give credit, those two Pittsfield kids ... Wales and that new boy, they have [Purry] — dynamite. They look great, they are legit."

Hoosac's lone boy today was Justin Levesque, who finished in 58th. Pittsfield's Cameron Diehl finished in 12th to lead her Generals side, Hoosac trio Jamie Barthe, Natiya Cili and Paige Barrow finished 22nd-24th, and Lee's Anna Martin finished 61st.

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Boys Results

Team scores — Mount Greylock def. Lee 15-49; Pittsfield def. Lee 19-42; Pittsfield def. Lenox 27-28; Lenox def. Hoosac Valley 15-50.

Top 20 — 1. Sam Culver (MG) 17:55.51; 2. Jesse Seid (MG) 18:05.94; 3. Josh Cheung (MG) 18:35.57; 4. Owen Brandriss (MG) 18:36.66; 5. Jacob Fink (MG) 18:46.45; 6. Paul Wales (P) 18:47.54; 7. Amin Purry (P) 18:53.06; 8. Jakin Miller (MG) 19:58.14; 9. Ryan Silverstein (LEN) 19:59.52; 10. Ted Yee (LEN) 20:00.59; 11. Sebastian Dowd-Smith (LEE) 20:01.07; 12. Steve Taglieri (P) 20:03.46; 13. Colin Young (LEN) 20:08.9; 14. Maxime Leger (LEN) 20:33.41; 15. Herkus Rudzinskas (LEN) 20:44.66; 16. Corban Miller (MG) 20:49.84; 17. Adam Shepardson (P) 20:51.36; 18. Evan Heath (LEE) 21:07.96; 19. Owen Tucker-Smith (MG) 21:08.87; 20. Eamon Hetherington (MG0 21:13.23.

Girls Results

Team scores — Mount Greylock def. Lee 15-50; Pittsfield def. Lee 15-50; Lenox def. Pittsfield 15-46; Lenox def. Hoosac Valley 15-50

Top 20 — 1. Jackie Wells (MG) 20:31.85; 2. Ellen Huth (LEN) 20:52.56; 3. Maggie Sorrentino (LEN) 21:34.91; 4. Marion Huth (LEN) 212:54.81; 5. Josie Smith (MG) 22:12.48; 6. Katherine Swann (MG) 22:12.68; 7. Margo Smith (MG) 22:12.68; 8. Miriam Bakija (MG) 22:30.47; 9. Ava Bachman (LEN) 22:45.78; 10. Tate Morrison (LEN) 22:56.92; 11. Peggy Yee (LEN) 23:01.89; 12. Cameron Diehl (P) 23:02.08; 13. Megan Francoeur (P) 23:12.39; 14. Helen Greenfield (MG) 23:22.64; 15. Isabelle Bote (MG) 23:23.55; 16. Emelyn Theriault (P) 23:42.89; 17. Tessa Leveque (MG) 23:57.47; 18. Abby Kittler (P) 24:05.64; 19. Isabelle Conlon (LEN) 24:07.77; 20. Hannah Locklear (MG) 24:08.5.

Contact Geoff Smith at 413-496-6254 or @GSmith_Eagle.


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