Pittsfield's Purry, Wahconah's Orlando are individual winners in cross country meet

PITTSFIELD — With the temperature nearing 80-degrees on a mid-September afternoon, the high school cross-country competition at Springside Park grew even hotter.

Pittsfield High hosted its Senior Day Wednesday in a meet that featured several close finishes, both individually and in the team scores. The host Generals boys squad narrowly edged cross-town rival Taconic 27-28 on the strength of a relative newcomer. Racing on his home course for the first and last time, PHS senior Amin Purry placed first overall with a time of 18:44.36. In just the second race of Purry's career he managed to squeak out a win over Taconic's Jacob Paris (18:46.56) to key the Generals victory.

"Impressive. I wasn't expecting this so soon. I did expect him to take over eventually," said Pittsfield head coach Mike Ortega of his newfound burner. "He's got the determination and the speed. He performs well at practice and takes coaching on where and when he should pick it up."

Elsewhere on the boys side, both Taconic and Wahconah earned wins over Hoosac Valley 15-50. The Hurricanes' top finisher was Kyle Morehouse in 24:36.70.

Purry's practice running-mate and fellow senior Paul Wales held the lead in a pack of Purry, Paris and Wahconah's PJ Pharmer exiting the woods briefly 13 minutes into the race. By the time the spectators caught sight of the leaders again, it was Purry and Paris in a dead heat with about 1,000 meters left.

"I saw [Paris] speed up a little bit and I decided to pick it up too," said Purry. "I was able to pass everyone there and then use the momentum on the downhill to finish it off. At that point, I was just looking straight at the finish, going as hard as I could and not stopping until I passed it."

Wales finished third overall in 19:14.85, holding off Pharmer (19:17.67) and more importantly Taconic's Brandon Pelkey (19:19.05). Pittsfield senior Steve Taglieri wedged himself into sixth place before a pair of Braves runners Mike LaFreniere and Gabe Carrington crossed. Pittsfield's Adam Shepardson was ninth overall and Anthony Curcio 11th to wrap up Pittsfield's scoring. Taconic's Zabion Powell finished in between them, but the damage of Purry and Wales was already done.

"It was a very close race. It's always going to be close between us and Taconic," said Ortega. "We talk about that all the time, but Amin just did great. Paul is going to learn this lesson and feed off of Amin. They'll continue working well at practice and get better."

The girls side featured a pair of close team races, including a one-point win by Wahconah over Pittsfield, 27-28 and Taconic edging Hoosac Valley 25-31. Wahconah also picked up a win over the Hurricanes 17-40.

The Warriors were lead by the 1-2 punch of junior Danielle Orlando and freshman Haley Crosier grabbing the top two spots in 22:35.06 and 22:45.34, respectively. Wahconah put four girls in the top-10 without a senior on the roster.

Despite the Generals next landing three sophomores; Cameron Diehl, Megan Francoeur and Emelyn Theriault in a row, Wahconah managed the team win by working in Gabrielle Orlando seventh and Samantha Gladu ninth. Pittsfield's Abby Kittler (eighth) and Kendra Castagna (13th) legged to a finish before the Warriors final scoring runner, Madelyn Wendling, but the work of Orlando and Crosier up front secured the victory.

"We did lots of hills and hard training this summer, around 30 miles a week," said Orlando, with sister and fellow captain Gabrielle who was working her way back from an illness. "We have a whole lot of new girls this year and we're trying to build up our base. [Crosier] is our new girl and we're excited for her. I think she's going to do really well this year."

Taconic senior Mary Hayes led the Braves to their win over Hoosac Valley with a third-place finish in 23:10.31. Classmates Abby Mooney, Mary Decelles and Aubrey Lazits figured into the scoring, along with juniors Hannah Supranowicz and Veronica Mercier.

"It's been great, our team when we're all together, everyone loves being a part of it," said Hayes. "Which gets us all hyped up. Everyone is really positive this year and because of that we're all running better and with a good edge."

The Hurricanes were led by Jamie Barthe in 10th overall with a time of 24:53.98. Natiya Cili and Paige Barrow also finished in the top-15.

Boys Results

Team scores — Pittsfield def. Taconic 27-28; Wahconah def. Hoosac Valley 15-50; Taconic def. Hoosac Valley 15-50.

Top 20 — 1. Amin Purry (P) 18:44.36; 2. Jacob Paris (T) 18:46.56; 3. Paul Wales (P) 19:14.85; 4. PJ Pharmer (W) 19:17.67; 5. Brandon Pelkey (T) 19:19.05; 6. Steve Taglieri (P) 19:36.51; 7. Mike LaFreniere (T) 19:45.34; 8. Gabe Carrington (T) 19:49.91; 9. Adam Shepardson (P) 19:54.60; 10. Zabion Powell (T) 20:05.86; 11. Anthony Curcio (P) 20:33.84; 12. Sean Cicchetti (T) 20:37.10; 13. Thomas Rabasco (T) 20:40.80; 14. Josh Tayi (T) 21:16.06; 15. Carlton Brooks (W) 21:22.35; 16. Zack McCain IV (W) 21:26.46; 17. Bryan Brophy (P) 21:50.53; 18. Ryan Polastri (P) 22:02.51; 19. Chris Adams (T) 22:05.47; 20. Matthew Herrington (P) 22:07.52.

Girls Results

Team scores — Wahconah def. Pittsfield 27-28; Wahconah def. Hoosac Valley 17-40; Taconic def. Hoosac Valley 25-31

Top 20 — 1. Danielle Orlando (W) 22:35.06; 2. Haley Crosier (W) 22:45.34; 3. Mary Hayes (T) 23:10.31; 4. Cameron Diehl (P) 23:40.24; 5. Megan Francoeur (P) 23:42.35; 6. Emelyn Theriault (P) 23:49.95; 7. Gabrielle Orlando (W) 24:13.45; 8. Abby Kittler (P) 24:39.14; 9. Samantha Gladu (W) 24:48.64; 10. Jamie Barthe (HV) 24:53.98; 11. Abby Mooney (T) 25:03.91; 12. Natiya Cili (HV) 25:08.10; 13. Kendra Castagna (P) 25:19.23; 14. Madelyn Wendling (W) 25:19.23; 15. Paige Barrow (HV) 25:31.01; 16. Hannah Supranowicz (T) 26:00.75; 17. Madison Tobin (P) 26:06.29; 18. Sierra Murray (P) 26:08.35; 19. Mary Decelles (T) 26:09.89; 20. Elise Wellman (P) 26:13.72.

Reach sports writer Mike Walsh at 413-496-6240 or @CLNS_Walsh


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