Cross country: Amherst, Northampton set for final duel at MIAA Divisional Championships

  • Amherst’s Tamar Byl-Brann, shown here earlier this season, leads the Hurricanes into this weekend’s MIAA Divisional Championships at Fort Devens. STAFF FILE PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Staff Writer 
Published: 11/17/2022 7:09:13 PM

There’s potential for the local cross-country runners to take home some hardware at this weekend’s MIAA Divisional State Championships. 

The championship meet will take place at Fort Devens on Saturday, with the opening races starting at 11 am. Division 2 will race first, with the girls taking off at 11 a.m. and the boys’ race following at 11:45. The Division 3 races are next with the girls’ race starting at 12:30 p.m. and the boys’ race beginning at 1:15. Award ceremonies will follow the conclusion of each division’s races. 

The Division 2 race will be the final showdown of the season between the Amherst and Northampton girls teams, which have been battling each other throughout the fall. The Hurricanes have managed to edge the Blue Devils all three times they’ve raced, but it’s been tight each time. 

All eyes will be on Amherst’s Tamar Byl-Brann, who won the MIAA Division 2A sectional race last weekend with a time of 18 minutes, 42.25 seconds. She’ll likely be in the top pack of the Division 2 race, and a strong performance on Saturday will give her a good shot at cracking the top three. 

Another top medalist contender is Northampton’s Norah Reade, who placed fifth in the 2A race (19:23.88) last weekend. Good performances from Northampton’s Maeve O’Neil and Amherst’s April Schilling, who placed eighth and 14th, respectively, in the 2A sectional race, could also find them on the medalist stand.

Both sides also have strong chances at impressive team finishes. It’ll be tough to knock out Holliston from the top spot, but both teams could be in contention for top-five overall finishes. 

On the boys’ side, Belchertown, Amherst and Northampton all qualified as teams in the Division 2 race.

Top performers Teddy King-Pollet from Northampton and Amherst’s David Pinero-Jacome will likely duel it out to be the No. 1 Hampshire County finisher. Pinero-Jacome has had the edge during most of the season, but King-Pollet finished ahead of Pinero-Jacome in the sectional meet a week ago. 

In the Division 3 races, Hampshire Regional qualified both its boys and girls teams to the championship meet, finishing second and third, respectively, in sectional races.

Leading the way for the Raiders are eighth-grader Kathleen Barry and senior Spencer Reese, who both finished in the top 10 at sectionals. Barry placed third overall, and should have a strong chance at earning a medal at the state race. 

Frontier qualified its girls squad, as the Redhawks placed third in the MIAA 3B sectional race just behind Hampshire. Junior Leah Gump (21:29.64) placed sixth overall and senior Abigail Howard (22:21.03) finished 14th – both will lead the way for the Redhawks this weekend. 

In addition to the teams that qualified, there are a number of individuals who earned a spot in the Division 3 race. Competing on the boys side is eighth-grader Evan Hedlund from Frontier and PVCICS senior Kyan Frantz. For the girls, Gateway freshman Alexandra Henrichon, Hopkins Academy freshman Caprial Dibartolomeo and PVCICS sophomore Sarah Fardal will also represent their schools.

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