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Amherst cross country program retains Crowley Cup at Amherst Invitational

  • COURTESY ART KEENE<br/>Emma Gonzelez, of Amherst Regional, leads a pack that includes Northampton's Mariel Lutz, right, and South Hadley's Serena Sarage, center, during the Amherst Invitational Saturday at Hampshire College.

    COURTESY ART KEENE
    Emma Gonzelez, of Amherst Regional, leads a pack that includes Northampton's Mariel Lutz, right, and South Hadley's Serena Sarage, center, during the Amherst Invitational Saturday at Hampshire College. Purchase photo reprints »

  • COURTESY ART KEENE<br/>The boys varsity race takes off during the Amherst Invitational, Saturday at Hampshrie College.

    COURTESY ART KEENE
    The boys varsity race takes off during the Amherst Invitational, Saturday at Hampshrie College. Purchase photo reprints »

  • COURTESY ART KEENE<br/>Emma Gonzelez, of Amherst Regional, leads a pack that includes Northampton's Mariel Lutz, right, and South Hadley's Serena Sarage, center, during the Amherst Invitational Saturday at Hampshire College.
  • COURTESY ART KEENE<br/>The boys varsity race takes off during the Amherst Invitational, Saturday at Hampshrie College.

Neither the Amherst Regional boys nor girls cross country teams won their respective titles at the Amherst Invitational Saturday.

But the program retained the Crowley Cup and that’s fine with them.

The boys team finished fourth overall and the girls were sixth, but their 333 combined points was 28 better than Pomperaug (Conn.). After not having the Cup for five years, the Hurricanes are not back-to-back program champions.

“We started it as a way to give a trophy for program strength,” Amherst girls coach Eric Nazar said. “Brookline had it for a few years, Newton South, Danbury. We got it back last year unexpectedly. I was sure Lowell was going to take it (this year) but their girls were banged up and they didn’t run their top girls.”

Lowell won the boys title with 55 points. Shrewsbury was second with 117 followed by New Milford (125) and Amherst (133).

Minnechaug (200) was fifth, while Northampton (207) was sixth. Hampshire Regional (559) was 21st, while South Hadley (647) was 23rd.

Pomperaug won the girls title with 133 points. Weymouth was second with 140 followed by Shepherd Hill (149), Wachusett (162), Ursuline Academy (192) and Amherst (200).

South Hadley was 13th with 328 points. Northampton (334) was 14th, while Hampshire Regional (475) was 21st out of 24 teams.

Sam Conway, of Minnechaug, won the boys race in 15 minutes, 58 seconds. Stella Worters, of Shepherd Hill, won the girls race in 18:47.

Weather may have played a roll in the overall slow times on the 3.1-mile course at Hampshire College.

“It was weird,” Nazar said. “It was cool but then it heated up. For the varsity races it was pretty hot, and it was windy too. If you look across the board, all the races were slower than last year. I don’t think the field was weaker. That’s OK.”

The top five runners count toward the team score.

Amherst’s Ryan Stender was fifth in 16:19 and was followed by Connor Evans (16th, 16:44), Rob Sailer (25th, 16:54), Nevin Murray (42nd, 17:25) and Owen Wright (45th, 17:29).

Northampton teammates Benjamin Hill, Tim Foldy-Porto and Aidan Gilson finished in a nice pack. Hill was 30th (17:09), Foldy-Porto was 32nd (17:11) and Gilson was 35th (17:13) to pace the Blue Devils.

Isaac Lello-Smith was 52nd (17:36) and Abe Herzog-Arbeitman was 58th (17:40) for Northampton.

Mike Sears (17:55) was 70th and Kyle Bean (18:30) finished 90th to lead Hampshire.

Chad McKenna (104th, 18:54) was South Hadley’s top finisher.

The Amherst girls were led by Anna Kaplan, who placed ninth overall in 19:27. Emma Gonzalez (17th, 19:49), Amanda Riley (43rd, 20:54), Valerie Willocq (56th, 21:24) and Mia Hartl (75th, 21:49) rounded out the top five.

Serena Sarage was 15th in 19:47 to pace South Hadley. Grace Bailly was 22nd in 20:03, while Caley Newton (58th, 21:27), Gabby Schwalm (107th, 22:53) and Aryn Banas (130th, 24:02) closed out the top five.

Mariel Lutz (14th, 19:47) edged Sarage at the finish to lead Northampton. Margaret Mahoney (25th, 20:08), Tori LaVerdiere (32nd, 20:39), Marta Sola-Pfeffer (128th, 23:57) and Amita Wanar (140th, 24:37) also placed for Northampton.

Hampshire was led by a pair of eighth graders. Sophia Prouty (21:56) and Charlotte Reynolds (21:58) were 82nd and 84th, respectively. Madi Eline (22:09) was 90th) followed by freshmen Haley Marek (108th, 22:57) and Abigail Touchet (115th, 23:15).

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