Berkshire County cross-country runners size up Northfield Mountain for Western Massachusetts championships

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After a week to rest the legs, Berkshire County cross-country runners return to the course today for the Western Massachusetts championship meets, being held at Northfield Mountain.

There will be four races today, starting with the girls' Division II race at 11 a.m., the girls' Division I race at 11:40, the boys' D-II race at 12:20 p.m., and the boys' D-I final at 1. The awards ceremony will start at approximately 1:45 at the conclusion of the races, with plaques and medals presented to the winning team champion and finalist in each division, along with the first 15 finishers in each race.

The top three teams from each race will advance to their respective state championship races, to be held on Nov. 16 at Gardner Municipal Golf Course. In addition to the teams, the top 10 individuals not on those teams will also advance to the state championships.

In Division II, the Mount Greylock teams enter as defending champions. The Mount Greylock boys won their ninth consecutive Western Mass. title last fall, while the girls won their second straight by just holding off county rival Lenox. This year, the Mountie girls will once again battle the Millionaires, while the Lenox and Monument Mountain boys teams will try to unseat the Greylock boys.

The Wahconah girls finished fourth in D-I last year, just missing out on a spot at states, while the Taconic boys placed seventh as a team.

Division II

The Greylock girls are fresh off a win at the Berkshire County Individuals meet, where they once again held off the Millionaires (31 to 52). Katherine Swann has proved herself as one of the top runners in D-II by winning the BCI, and Hilary Greene's crew mixes experience (Jackie Wells, Hazel Scullin) with young runners like Erin Keating and Grace Malone.

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Lenox, meanwhile, got a strong 1-2 punch from Ava Bachman (3rd) and Alice Culver (4th) at the BCI meet, while Ellen Huth is an experienced third runner for Lenox and a healthy Grace Elliot can make all the difference. The key will be getting the 4-7 runners up high into packs.

Lee's Anna Martin will be an individual runner to watch out for, along with teammate Olivia Johnson, for a potential individual spot at the state championships.

For the boys, the title is up for grabs for the first time in a long time. The Lenox-Monument rivalry during the season overshadowed Greylock, and the teams finished Lenox-Monument-Greylock at the Individuals meet. Lenox won with 29 points to Monument's 59, but it was the Spartans that won the league title during the regular season.

Ted Yee and Colin Young give Lenox a veteran top pairing — Yee won the BCI meet — while Monument's trio of Keegan Leach, Peter LaRochelle and Diego Salinetti are formidable. Lenox won Individuals by getting Max Adam and Dennis Love in the top 10 overall, and the ability for both teams to group runners together will be key.

Individually, Greylock's Ollie Swabey, Mount Everett's Cole Duval and Hoosac Valley's Justin Levesque will all be hoping to qualify as individuals for the state championship.

Division I

The three teams in D-I are Taconic, Pittsfield and Wahconah. The boys teams finished in that order at the BCI meet behind the top 3 teams. Jacob Paris from Taconic will be a strong individual candidate for a spot at the state championships, while Emanual Brown at Pittsfield has also rounded himself into good form going into the sectional meet. Wahconah's top finisher at the BCI was Hayden Kendell.

For the girls, Haley Crosier from Wahconah finished seventh at the Individuals and will be aiming for a repeat individual spot at states. Pittsfield's top two of Kellie Harrington and Cami Diehl could also feature near the top of the leaderboard at Northfield, while a senior-laden Generals squad looks to crash the team standings party as well. Taconic's Ahliya Phillips is another individual candidate to look out for.


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