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Ryan Stender, Anna Kaplan lead Amherst cross country teams at state championships

Amherst Regional senior Ryan Stender was fourth at the PVIAC championship.

He was then third at the Western Massachusetts Division 1 race.

At the state Division 1 championship meet Saturday, Stender was sixth overall, but No. 1 as well.

Stender was the top western Mass. finisher at Gardner Municipal Golf Course. He finished the new 2.9-mile course in 14 minutes, 46.4 seconds.

Minnechaug’s Sam Conway, who was first at the PVIAC and WMass meets, was 10th in 14:54.61.

“Sam is a great runner,” Stender said. “I was very happy that I beat him at the state meet after Western Mass and PVIAC where he beat me.”

Gabe Montague, of Newton North, won in 14:26.89, while Mansfield took the team title with 105 points.

The Hurricanes placed 13th with 258.

Connor Evans (15th, 15:11.36), Nevin Murray (75th, 15:46.44), Allen Vance (137th, 16:24.29) and Owen Wright (143rd, 16:27.18) rounded out the top five.

“I feel like as a team we definitely did our best,” Stender said. “We all ran as hard as we could. I’m satisfied with 13th and I would say my teammates are satisfied with 13th.”

Northampton placed 19th among 19 teams with 463 points.

Aidan Gilson (92nd, 15:55.21), Ben Hill (127th, 16:16.11), Abe Herzog-Arbeitman (152nd, 16:36.07), Tim Foldy-Porto (154th, 16:37.51) and Isaac Lello-Smith (160th, 16:42.24) scored for Hamp.

Amherst Regional will run the Nike Cross Northeast championship, at Bowdoin Park, Wappingers Falls, N.Y., on Nov. 30.

Girls Division 1

Sectional champion Anna Kaplan kept her status as the top runner from western Mass. The Amherst senior placed 11th in 17:44.30.

Seven seconds separated seventh from 13th.

“There was a big pack from the mile on,” Kaplan said. “We switched places a bunch of times and all ran together. It was nice we had a big pack.”

Lowell’s Kaley Richards placed first in 16:53.79.

Needham won the team title with 83 points. Amherst was sixth with 202.

“We just wanted to keep our spreads as close as they could be,” Kaplan said. “Our 3-4-5 girls put in a lot of work and moved up.”

Emma Gonzalez (52nd, 18:28.20), Ariel Christie (70th, 18:44.29), Amanda Riley (73rd, 18:48.37) and Hannah Lebowitz (84th, 18:57.34) were Amherst’s top five. Kaplan said Saturday’s race was the last of the season for the Hurricanes.

“We were really happy with sixth,” Kaplan said. “The field was really competitive.”

Northampton placed 18th out of 19 teams with 412 points.

Mariel Lutz was 43rd in 18:18.14 to pace the Blue Devils.

Maggie Mahoney (114th, 19:28.70), Tori Laverdiere (117th, 19:31.65), Julia Snodgrass (155th, 20:22.73) and Maddie Illingsworth (158th, 20:24.21) rounded out Hamp’s top five.

Individually, South Hadley’s Serena Sarage (64th, 18:37.59) and Grace Bailly (91st, 19:01.30) finished in the top 100.

Division 2

Newburyport’s Nick Carleo won the boys race in 14:14.07. Pembroke took the team championship.

Mike Sears was 79th in 16:10.05, while Kyle Bean was 125th in 16:42.90 for Hampshire

Manchester Essex’s Olivia Lantz won the girls meet in 16:55.62. Hamilton-Wenham took the team crown.

Eighth-grader Sophia Prouty was 72nd (19:12.39) for Hampshire.

Caitlin Burnett, of Frontier, was 105th in 19:55.22.

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