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Amherst Regional set to defend PVIAC indoor track title

Amherst High School football head coach David Thompson

JERREY ROBERTS Amherst High School football head coach David Thompson Purchase photo reprints »

As the Amherst Regional indoor track and field team prepares for Monday’s PVIAC championship meet, coach David Thompson finds himself quite calm and collected. After all, he’s been here before and knows exactly what to expect.

Thompson, who is in his fifth year with the team, coached the Hurricanes to a 10-0 record and a PVIAC title last season.

Having won it all last year, Thompson does admit that there is some pressure to “live up to the hype”. However, he feels that if each member of his team performs as expected, the results will take care of themselves.

Monday’s meet starts at 6 p.m. at Smith College.

“There is indeed some pressure,” Thompson said Tuesday. “I always want to win. I understand that we play these sports so the kids can have fun and all, but to be honest, no one has fun losing. I want my guys to go out and give it 110 percent and leave everything out on that track. If we do that, we have nothing to worry about and we can hold our heads high, win or lose.”

Thompson’s confident that this year’s squad will build on last year’s breakout success and defend its title for two major reasons. First, the Hurricanes retained a great deal of the talented athletes from last season’s team such as 55-meter sprint standout Taj Torres. Secondly, Amherst is a much deeper squad than it was last year.

“I think our team is really good if not better than last year,” said senior Gabe Fishman, a middle- and long-distance runner who will be running the 1-mile this weekend. “We have people that are going to be in the top five if not champions in different events. We’re a really deep team. We’ve got three or four guys in every event whereas most other teams only have one. If we go out there and everything clicks, and people race like they’ve been racing all year then we should definitely have a good a shot at repeating.”

Thompson is optimistic about his team’s chances of accomplishing something special. He said that all his team needs at this point is a little fine tuning, which is what he intends to give it in the days leading up to the meet.

“I feel like all of the guys that I’m depending on to show up are looking good right now,” Thompson said. “I think we just need to clean up a few things on the relays and work on coming out stronger out of the starting blocks. It’s just a matter of getting ready and making sure everyone is healthy.”

Torres is seeded first in the 55 and second in the long jump. Michael Stender is second in the 600, while his brother Ryan is third in the 2-mile. Connor Evans is third in the 1,000.

The Hurricanes’ 4x800 and 4x400 relays are first, while the 4x2 is second.

Girls meet

Northampton will look to snap is run of second-place finishes to East Longmeadow. The Blue Devils are the two-time runner-ups after winning in 2009 and 2010.

Hamp has talent across the board.

Adrienne Pascucci is seeded second in the 55 hurdles, second in the high jump and fourth in the long jump.

Alexandra Dibrindisi is first in long jump, while Sophie Sharp third.

Leah Tompkins is third in high jump.

Mia Toffoli is seeded second in the 600 and second in the 1,000.

The Blue Devils’ 4x4 relay is first.

The Amherst girls have a number of highly seeded athletes.

The 4x8 relay is first, while Kanya Brown (55), Anna Kaplan (1-mile) and Sara Vannah (2-mile) are second.

The 4x2 and Emma Gonzalez (2-mile) are third.

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