Two Berkshire County teams, Lenox's Carpenter win W. Mass. cross country championships
NORTHFIELD -- Lenox cross country coach Jeanne Teasdale probably summed up a lot of Berkshire County teams' feelings Saturday at Northfield Recreation Center with one exclamation.
"Our goal has been made!" she said.
She was talking about her Millionaire girls, who won a Western Mass. Division II team championship. She could have also been talking about the Lenox boys, who had the top two finishers in the D-II boys race (Scott Carpenter and Tucker McNinch), and qualified for states with a second-place finish.
The feelings were the same for Monument Mountain, Mount Greylock and Pittsfield high schools, who all send their boys and girls teams back to Northfield next Saturday for the state championship races. Greylock's boys won another Western Mass. D-II team title, while the girls took second; Monument took third place in both the boys and girls standings; and Pittsfield earned team slots in both the boys and girls Division I state races.
Carpenter defended his D-II crown, blowing away the field in 16 minutes, 31.44 seconds -- which he said wasn't close to the best he could do.
"I didn't really put in any surges or put out any all-out efforts during the race," Carpenter said. "I took it conservatively and hoped for the best."
McNinch was second in 17:24.5, followed by Hoosac Valley's Travis Ciempa and Greylock's Will Kirby.
The Mountie top five of Kirby, Carter Stripp (sixth), Sam Kobrin (12th), Jake Kobrin (24th) and Will Nolan (28th) earned the team a championship with 74 team points. Lenox was second with 83 points, and Monument's boys -- led by Logan Morton in ninth place and Kelt Wilska in 20th place -- were third with 105 points.
Dan Brien led PHS' boys to states. He took fourth place in the D-I meet in 16:51.57, and was one of two Generals (Cody Lucido in 18th being the other) in the top 20.
"I wasn't sure [I had fourth] until close to the last half-mile," Brien said. "There were probably four or five of us together, battling for that fourth-place finish."
Brien, Lucido, Matt Nesti (32nd), Justin Hopkins (37th) and Jon Lee (39th) punched PHS' ticket to states.
"We knew it was going to be close," Pittsfield coach Michael Ortega said. "We knew who our competition was. I told these guys, ‘Give it all you've got,' and they did."
Berkshire County, simply put, dominated the Division II race.
After Natalie Mako's impressive 19:19.67 win for Frontier, the Berkshires took seven of the next eight individual spots, led by 2011 D-II champion Emily Kaegi of Greylock (20:03.15). County champion Kalyn Alibozek of Hoosac was third, followed by Greylock's Kat Chenail and South Division champion Monument's Heather Hassett.
Sydnee Gallup of Hoosac was seventh; Monument's Maeve Wilber was eighth; and Lenox's Elizabeth Jarck was ninth.
Lenox -- behind the finishes of Jarck, Hannah McClusky, Kate McNinch, Emily Tibbetts and Ella King -- led the Berkshire sweep in the team standings, scoring 78 points to win the championship. Greylock's top five of Kaegi, Chenail, Amalia Leamon, Jenna Phelps and Laura Galib took second with 89 points, followed by Monument Mountain's top five of Hassett, Wilber, Jordan Begley, Kayla Dillon and Sarah Benedict (125 points).
"You hope to just have all the kids have their best race of the day on a day like today," Monument coach Chris Unsworth said. "Heather, Maeve and Jordan ... they've been, especially in the second half of the year, so consistent and tough."
In Division I, Pittsfield's Lauren Farry led her team to a second-place finish behind Amherst. Farry was third after climbing the brutal course-opening hill, and ultimately finished fifth in 20:40.04.
"I tried to get into a relative spot that I was going to try and finish in," she said. "The ground [at the end] is so uneven, and my legs were so tired. They were like cinder blocks."
Makayla Powers (11th), Mackenzi Powers (15th), Liza Smith (23rd) and Mollie Daly (34th) rounded out the Generals' second straight state-qualifying squad, performances that left coach Theresa Apple "pleasantly unsurprised" at day's end.
"They were well-prepared," she said. "They went into it with the right attitude. They knew what they wanted, and they came through."
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