Swann, Yee race to cross-country wins at Mount Greylock; Pittsfield, Lenox, Greylock girls eye postseason
WILLIAMSTOWN — Kate Swann left no doubt on Wednesday at Mount Greylock, tackling her home course with an impressive time and collecting her Berkshire County-leading fifth individual first place finish of the fall season.
Swann blasted out to an early lead, and kept Lenox's Grace Elliot on her hip through the first stage of the new cross-country course behind her high school. Later, the sophomore star dialed it up and started putting real distance between herself and the field. Swann finished in 19 minutes, 37.97 seconds, out-pacing runner-up Kellie Harrington of Pittsfield by nearly 48 seconds.
"I'm pretty comfortable on this course since we run it all the time," said Swann. "I wanted to go out strong and be in the lead because it helps me feel mentally strong.
"Then I wanted to stay strong on the hills and build a lead."
In the boys' race, Lenox's Ted Yee overcame an early lead by Greylock's Ollie Swabey — along with a late push by the Mounties' youngster — to win his fourth race, and second straight, this fall in 17:41.09.
"Where the course goes out and around back to the field it's around a mile, that's where I caught [Swabey]," said Yee, who was planning to do a side workout with a couple teammates, but decided last minute to compete in the race with the Brown Invitational just days away. "We go there and try to get a good PR out of it. It's a really fast race at Brown. It's our overnight, so good time to stay with the team."
The girls' race featured Berkshire County's top three squads dueling late in the season, with Pittsfield, Mount Greylock and Lenox. In a pair of close decisions, the Mounties beat Lenox 26-33, while the Millionaires avenged their lone loss of the season 21-40 over PHS.
Harrington put together a strong second-half of the race to place second, while Lenox's Ava Bachman and Grace Elliot took third and fourth, respectively. Greylock matched that second top-five scorer with Grace Malone zooming in a few seconds after Elliot. The Mounties continued to flood the finishing chute with red and white jerseys, landing Erin Keating, Jackie Wells and Cecilia Malone in the top 10, and then also claiming spots 11 through 13.
Greylock's depth is tough to topple this season, with Lenox handing the Mounties' their lone defeat earlier this year. The Mounties are only getting healthier too, with Swann noting the recent return of Hazel Scullin (12th) and the first race of eighth-grader Ava Agnanos.
"We're looking really good. We're really close and run together all the time, and we get even closer when the postseason gets here," said Swann. "We've got a twilight meet this weekend that's another bonding experience. That friendship really strengthens us."
For Lenox, which will continue to come up against the Mounties through the Western Massachusetts championships and potentially beyond, it's a matter of getting their top runners healthy and peaking at the right time.
"Looking at these finishes, we're really happy with them. Greylock is such a powerhouse right now and this is their course," said Lenox coach Jeanne Teasdale, whose team is headed for the Brown Invitational this weekend. "All of our girls did well today. We're just trying to keep them healthy. We need to close the gap, but our top girls need to be on. But we've got three or four weeks looking ahead, and the training is going really well."
The Generals won't meet either squad in the postseason, as coach Theresa Apple's senior-laden squad will compete with the bigger schools in Division I, but the goals are very similar regardless.
"We all have a common goal, especially this year," said Megan Francoeur, one of seven PHS seniors who raced Wednesday. "We want to place really well at individuals and Western Mass. Through these four years we've all just grown so close and we push each other. It's really competitive at practice."
Harrington is a freshman, but for other top Generals like Cami Diehl, who placed ninth, Francoeur (15th), Emelyn Theriault (21st) and Abby Kittler (23rd), this is it.
"We've been doing a lot of endurance work, and I think that's really paid off for me and the entire team," said Francoeur, whose junior year ended with a stress fracture, before she vowed to return a better teammate and finish her career strong. With a win over Lenox under their collective belt, Wednesday's results are just a blip on the road to the county championships and Western Mass.
"By one point, but it felt really good," said Francoeur, before crediting Sydney Ferris with getting them over the Millionaires hump two weeks ago. "That really broke it for me. If we could win against Lenox, we could really do something this year."
Lee earned a win over Hoosac Valley behind a pair of strong runs from Anna Martin (23:31.43) and Olivia Johnson (23:37.25) in 25th and 26th overall. The Hurricanes were led by Hannah Walsh (24:59.32) in 40th.
It was a 3-0 day for the Lenox boys, who survived scares from Mount Greylock (27-30) and Pittsfield (21-40).
The Mounties had seven runners cross the finish line before Cormac Mathews closed the score book for Lenox, but even his 12 points couldn't bring the hosts to victory. Yee was backed up by Dennis Love in fourth, while Swabey had Parker Winters in seventh. Harry Touloukian and Maxime Leger gave the Millionaires four runners in the top 10 and put Greylock in a hole. Leger held off a string of fourth straight Mounties, places 11 through 15 to give his squad a shot.
The Generals were led by Emanual Brown in third overall with a sub-six-minute pace. Jack Archey rounded out the top five for PHS. Justin Levesque was sixth to lead Hoosac Valley. Lee earned a win over the Hurricanes. The Wildcats were led by Zach Bianco in eighth.
Team Results — Mount Greylock def. Lenox 26-33; Lenox def. Pittsfield 21-40; Greylock def. Lee 15-50; Lee def. Hoosac Valley 16-45; Lenox def. Hoosac 15-50.
Individual Top 20 — 1. Kate Swann (MG) 19:37.97; 2. Kellie Harrington (P) 20:25.45; 3. Ava Bachman (LX) 20:36.63; 4. Grace Elliot (LX) 20:49.65; 5. Grace Malone (MG) 20:52.31; 6. Alice Culver (LX) 20:56.95; 7. Erin Keating (MG) 21:02.78; 8. Jackie Wells (MG) 21:10.09; 9. Cami Diehl (P) 21:33.00; 10. Cecilia Malone (MG) 21:41.79; 11. Lily McDermott (MG) 21:43.96; 12. Hazel Scullin (MG) 21:50.98; 13. Ainsley Abel (MG) 21:58.15; 14. Audrey Touloukian (LX) 22:18.16; 15. Megan Francoeur (P) 22:26.97; 16. Ellen Huth (LX) 22:32.78; 17. Isabella Penna-Ward (P) 22:26.97; 18. Sarah Polumbo (MG) 22:44.49; 19. Sophia Mele (MG) 22:45.16; 20. Sydney Wilk (LX) 22:47.98.
Team Results — Lenox def. Mount Greylock 27-30; Lenox def. Pittsfield 25-30; Lenox def. Hoosac Valley 18-45; Greylock def. Lee 18-45; Lee def. Hoosac 20-43.
Individual Top 20 — 1. Ted Yee (LX) 17:41.09; 2. Ollie Swabey (MG) 17:49.48; 3. Emanual Brown (P) 18:37.10; 4. Dennis Love (LX) 18:42.80; 5. Jack Archey (P) 18:55.94; 6. Justin Levesque (HV) 19:02.29; 7. Parker Winters (MG) 19:13.02; 8. Zach Bianco (L) 19:21.10; 9. Harry Touloukian (LX) 19:24.10; 10. Maxime Leger (LX) 19:26.96; 11. Charlie Mcweeny (MG) 19:29.32; 12. Jude Bakija (MG) 19:34.22; 13. Brandon Fahlenkamp (MG) 19:41.97; 14. Corban Miller (MG) 19:42.71; 15. Quinten Walton (P) 19:49.83; 16. David Babineau (P) 19:52.33; 17. Tony Hunt (P) 20:07.03; 18. Patrick Aliberti (MG) 20:08.23; 19. Cormac Mathews (LX) 20:08.88; 20. Finn Ellingwood (MG) 20:12.52.
Mike Walsh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @CLNS_Walsh on Twitter and 413-496-6240.
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