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Wild Rumpus Sports
 

Greylock Rolls on at Wahconah

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All photos courtesy of WRHS Ski Team and SA Sears Photography

Coach Ryan Touponce of Wahconah High School put in endless hours to make this race happen.

Coach Ryan Touponce of Wahconah High School put in endless hours to make this race happen.

The usual worries of hosting a cross country ski race were nothing for Coach Ryan Touponce of Wahconah High School. Timing, set up, and securing volunteers on race day took a back seat to snow cover. Three days and 20 hours of repeated cycles of grooming and shoveling later (not to mention hours by other volunteers) the Berkshire Ski League races were ready to roll. The setup and snow cover were fantastic and even managed to hold up under the skis of 503 total laps raced.

GIRLS RACES

The hard work was only just beginning, however as the Varsity girls race took off. Alice Huth (LX), Brandi Gill (MG) and Clarissa Pollard (MOH), the 2nd, 3rd, and 6th place winners from the previous week were all entered in the first wave. Huth led the trio through the opening field loop and was passed by Gill right before they entered the woods toward the middle school loop. Throughout the race, Gill never relinquished that lead while Huth and Pollard would trade positions back and forth over the remaining 4.2K. Gill continued to stretch the margin finishing first in the wave and 1st overall at 19:28. Huth managed to hold off a hard charging Pollard right at the finish line as they crossed one second apart at 19:58 and 19:59 which resulted in 4th and 5th place finishes overall.

The second wave proved very competitive and contained four of the top 10 finishers. Emma Polumbo (MG) led this wave from the start, while Nevada Powers (NMH), Emma Jourdain (LX), and Sarah Gokey (MOH) battled each other right up to the finish. Polumbo, 6th overall, pulled away from the trio within the first kilometer and finished with a time of 20:00, 40 seconds ahead of the next girl in her wave. Powers also managed to pull away en route to a 20:40 finish and 8th overall. Jourdain (21:02) held off Gokey (21:05) to hold places 9 and 10 on the day.

The remaining top 10 place winners were all from Mt. Greylock and came from 3 different waves. Niku Darafshi and Margo Smith (1st and 4th last week) pushed hard by themselves with only the knowledge of their splits compared to the leaders from wave one. Navigating the course was not the only difficulty, however, as they also had to pass skiers from waves one through four along the narrow route. Darafshi displayed tremendous heart in a gutsy solo effort from wave 3 which yielded a time of 19:39, good enough for 2nd place. Smith’s effort from wave 4 of 19:43 for 3rd overall was equally impressive to Darafshi in heart and will and even included a fall and quick recovery in the woods that marginally affected her time.

The final top 10 place winner of the day may have been the most impressive as Sonia Glab (MG) started in wave 7 and skied her way through earlier waves to finish in 7th overall at 20:46. This was the first top 10 finish for Glab.

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Wahconah’s Gabby Orlando gets her race started with a strong double pole on her way to 12th place in the girls’ varsity race.

Originally scheduled as a mass start race, the switch to a wave start allowed racers equal opportunity to get out of the gates strong and safely onto the narrow course. While there was some unpredictability in the results of each wave, the top spot in the team standings was remarkably predictable. Mt. Greylock demonstrated its traditional strength in pulling away from the field with 12 points. The next three places after the Mounties were hotly contested with Lenox (48), NMH (59), and Mohawk (61) battling to finish 2nd through 4th place.

The second girls race of the day was like the first in that it was dominated by Mountie finishers. Mt Greylock skiers took home 11 of the top 12 places and were only separated by a 10th place finish from Rebekah Keator of NMH (25:27). Top honors for the day went to first time race winner Anna Butcher whose flawless V2 technique led to a dominant performance on the flat course. Butcher was nearly a minute ahead of the rest of the field as she crossed the line in 21:20. The next four Mt. Greylock finishers were separated by a mere 22 seconds. Ariel Dupras, Amelia Murphy, Tenley Smith, and Miriam Bakija competed with each other like it was a practice on the fields of the Williamstown/Lanesboro high school.

One of the most exciting finishes of the day came out of the fourth wave as Ella Dudley and Josie Smith battled back and forth over the entire course. The teammates were both bent on winning the duel which came down to the final meters. Each alternate pole stroke resulted in a change in lead down the stretch as Dudley caught the finish line just right, finishing a toe ahead of Smith for 6th and 7th (23:13).

The remaining top 10 spots came from waves 3 and 6 as Bella Bote and Elizabeth Westerdahl raced to times of 23:52 and 24:36 respectively for 9th and 10th.

The Wahconah team knew how to work every inch of their home course.

The Wahconah team knew how to work every inch of their home course.

BOYS RACES

On the boys side of things, Greylock repeated as champs in the boys varsity race, but in a far less dominant fashion then last week’s 9 point showing. The addition of the Northfield-Mount Hermon (NMH) team and of Willy Wright (Amherst) who missed last week’s race, made for a much more competitive race this time around.

Sophomore Kent Yoshikawa (NMH) took the win with a time of 16:52 out of the hotly contested second wave. 2nd place finisher Willy Wright (AMH) and 3rd place Ric Donati (MG) also started in the second wave, and finished with times of 16:59 and 17:04 respectively. Yoshikawa led from the gun, and by the half-way point of the five kilometer race, had opened up a slight lead. Wright and Donati battled throughout, taking turns leading, but a decisive move by Wright with a kilometer to go earned him second place.

The first wave was also hotly contested with NMH’s Toby Weed (4th, 17:18), Mount Greylock’s Jakin Miller (5th, 17:26), Lenox’s Miles Marshall (tie 7th, 17:29), and Amherst’s Luke Sedor Protti (9th, 17:30) all racing together. Weed led the group for the entire race, and managed to break away from the rest with a surge at the end of the first lap. Seder Protti led the chase for most of the second lap, but faded towards the end, as Miller attacked with half a kilometer to go.

Mount Greylock's Head Coach, Hiram Greene, keeps it fun as always.

Mount Greylock’s Head Coach, Hiram Greene, keeps it fun as always.

The rest of the top 10 was all Greylock. Evan Arthur (17:27) finished 6th, Jacob Adams (17:29) tied for 7th, and Cameron Castonguay (17:39) rounded out the top ten. Wahconah’s top skier, Sam Pyser, finished nearly a minute back of Castonguay in 11th. Taconic’s Noah Shepardson put in a strong effort in 12th, Hoosac’s Mitch Barnes finished 22nd, Simsbury’s Adam Bosenburg came in at 31st, and Mohawk’s only skier, Guy Rice-Lesure, finished right behind in 32nd.

As in the girl’s race, Greylock won the team standings with 21 points, but the next three spots were hotly contested. Amherst finished 2nd with 43 points, Northfield-Mount Hermon finished 3rd with 52, and Lenox just missed the podium with 54.

In the JV race, it was all Greylock. The top eight finishers and 14 of the top 20, all bore the red-and-white bibs of the Mounties. 8th-grader Corban Miller took home his first win with a time of 18:58, a time that would have earned him 13th place in the varsity race. Miller and 2nd place finisher Sam Edge (19:18) both started in the first wave, and Edge made use of a strong double pole start to take an early lead, but Miller soon took over the lead. Edge managed to hang on to his teammate for the first lap, but lost contact soon after entering the second lap, and by the 3.5 kilometer mark, Miller had opened up a substantial lead. While Edge managed to claw back a handful of seconds in the closing stages, he never caught his teammate. After Edge, six more Mounties followed, with Carter Lemaire (19:53) in 3rd, Col McDermott (20:01) in 4th, Finn Welch (20:04) in 5th, Nima Darafshi (20:11) in 6th, John Skavlem (20:14) in 7th, and Gio Cavalli (20:39) in 8th. Ted Yee of Lenox and Julius Munemo of Greylock rounded out the top 10, with times of 20:56 and 21:13 respectively.

The overall theme of the day was that Wahconah had done a wonderful job managing the snow and course to provide for the enjoyment and competition of 265 racers. Thanks to the Wahconah coaching staff and all the volunteers for making it happen. See you next week.

Complete Results:

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Wahconah’s coaches, team and volunteers were amazing hosts as always.

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