Monument's House starts indoor track season strong at Vermont

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When Sophia House was a three-sport athlete at Monument Mountain High School, skiing and soccer came before track and field.

So maybe it's a touch ironic that House is competing in track and field at the University of Vermont.

The freshman from Great Barrington said that while she is happy competing, she misses not being a three-sport athlete.

"I do a lot," she said. "Track was my least favorite out of the three. Skiing was my favorite, because I loved to ski. I played soccer since I was in the fourth grade and I skied since I was three."

Vermont has been an NCAA Division I power in skiing, so the freshman athlete said she knew that sport would not be a good fit.

In making her college decision, House said she considered going to Division III Ithaca College to play soccer, but Vermont won out academically. She is currently a nursing major but is looking to switch her major to exercise and movement.

House said she spoke with the soccer coaches and was told there weren't any open spots.

"A lot of the reasons why I played soccer [at Monument] were my teammates," she sad. "It just wouldn't be the same without those people."

She's had a pretty good indoor season to date. She was fourth in the mile at the UVM Invitational on Jan. 21, finishing in 5 minutes, 26.88 seconds. She had a 17th-place finish in the 1,000 meters at the Reebok Classic at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston on Jan. 29. Her time in the 1,000 was 3:11.64.

One might think track is track, you go at the gun and run laps. But House said that's not the case with indoor track.

"It is a lot different," she said. "There's no complications from the weather. The temperature is always the same. You're running a lot more laps for each race."

House, as she was at Monument, is a middle distance runner -- competing in the 800, the 1,000 and the mile.

"It's kind of hard to adjust" to running inside, House continued, "and how much faster you have to go."

Of course, when you run a mile on a track outdoors, it's four laps. Indoors, the number doubles.

"The laps go by really quickly," House said. "I didn't realize the number of laps. You kind of space out for a bit because the laps are so quick."

One other adjustment Sophia House has had to make is in her practice schedule. The Catamounts work out from 7:15-9:30 a.m. Then she can got to class, work out on her own, or hit the weight room.

"I like getting [practice] over with in the morning," she said, adding that a bit of extra afternoon work helps her focus on her school work.

There is, however, one drawback at this time of the year.

"It's hard getting up when everybody else is sleeping," she said with a laugh. "And it's cold out."

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House has a Vermont teammate from Berkshire County, sophomore Jake Hopkins from North Adams.

The former Drury athlete is a biology major at UVM and runs middle distances for the Catamounts.

At the UVM Invitational, he was fourth in the 600 in 1:27.73. In the Reebok event, he took 24th in the 500 in 1:10.24.

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Former Wahconah Regional runner Aaron Udel of Dalton has become one of the top middle distance runners for Brandeis University.

Hard work has moved the senior up the pack for the Judges and all that work was capped off on Jan. 21, when he won the men's 800 at the Brandeis hosted Reggie Poyau Invitational.

Udel ran a 1:59.86 in the 800 at the Boston University Terrier Invitational on Jan. 30.

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Zach Gordon of Pittsfield and Danny Barry of Sheffield have kind of picked up where they left off in the fall. The two University of Massachusetts cross country runners are competing for the Minutemen in indoor track, and acquitting themselves well.

Gordon, a junior, had quite the race in the 1,000 at the University of Rhode Island Invitational on Jan. 23. He finished second in 2:32.53, just behind teammate Scott VanderMolen (2:31.68). He was seventh in the mile at the Reebok event on Jan. 29, in a time of 4:15.48.

Barry, a senior, won the mile at Rhode Island in 4:14.56.

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The St. Lawrence University indoor track team has a decided Berkshire County flavor to it.

Todd Lavigne of Dalton is the elder statesman of the Berkshire County trio running for the Saints. Lavigne, who ran at Wahconah Regional, was fifth in the 5,000 at the St. Lawrence Saints Invitational on Jan. 23. His time was 15:48.42.

Tim Liponis of Lenox is a sophomore at St. Lawrence and ran the mile in the home invitational. His time was 4:38.98. Liponis came to St. Lawrence form Northfield Mount Hermon.

Also competing in the St. Lawrence Invitational was freshman Jackie Lemme of Williamstown, who finished seventh in the 800 in 2:27.86. Lemme went to St. Lawrence after a stellar career at Mount Greylock.

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If you know of any college athlete from Berkshire County, drop us a line and we can begin to look them up. Send the information to hherman@berkshireeagle.com.


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