Briefs: UMass’ MacLean up for NCAA Woman of the Year; Belchertown Twirlers shine

  • The Belchertown Twirlers competed at the National Baton Twirling Championships, July 24-28 at Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. The twirling team’s 11 members are ages 11 through 20 and are from Belchertown, Chicopee, East Longmeadow and Orange. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Published: 8/2/2018 9:51:30 PM

MacLean up for NCAA top honor

Former UMass runner Heather MacLean was one of two nominees from the Atlantic 10 for the NCAA Woman of the Year honor, the conference announced Thursday.

MacLean was selected alongside George Mason’s Sharon Dorsey for the prestigious award. The Peabody native is the first UMass athlete to be nominated by the conference for the award.

MacLean won the A-10 cross country title in 2016 and 2017, earning All-American status last year. She also was honored as an All-American this spring in the 800 meters to add to her 2016 distinction in the mile. The 2018 Atlantic 10 women’s track Athlete of the Year finished her UMass career with seven individual records and four relay records.

The NCAA will cut the field down to 10 semifinalists this month before naming three finalists in late September. The award will be presented on Oct. 28 in Indianapolis.

Twirlers take home national titles

The Belchertown Twirlers competed at the National Baton Twirling Championships, July 24-28 at Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana.

Megan Senecal, Jennifer Fonseca and Kasey Gibbons earned first place in the Flag Twirling and Show Twirling events for individual age divisions.

Twirlers were judged on the variety of tricks in their routine, the difficulty of tricks and the speed at which all of the tricks were executed. Points are also scored for entertainment value and presentation of the routine. Gracefulness and timing also play a role in high scores.

Senecal and Gibbons earned first place in the Advanced Flag Twirling category. Fonseca achieved a national title by executing a show routine to her choice of music. Her routine was choreographed by coach Kristi Kupras Ochs of South Hadley.

The duet of Laura Cote and Emma Withers placed fifth. Kaleigh Cooper and Allison Cote placed third in the high school division.

Belchertown Twirlers teams competed in the Advanced Division, which is the highest competition level, and placed Top 10 in five events.

The twirling team’s 11 members are ages 11 through 20 and are from Belchertown, Chicopee, East Longmeadow and Orange.

Team members Cooper, Allison Cote, Laura Cote, Sarah Fink, Fonseca, Gibbons, Samantha MacDonald, Jillian Scott, Senecal, Megan Smith and Withers brought home 66 individual Top 10 medals.

Barbara Kupras, Kristi Kupras Ochs and Cate Senecal coach the Belchertown Twirlers, which is offered through the Belchertown Recreation Department.

Doubleheader roller derby Saturday

Pioneer Valley Roller Derby’s 12th season continues with a doubleheader on Saturday. The event will be held at 296 Nonotuck St. in Florence. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for kids ages 7-12, and kids 6 and under get in free. Doors open at 3 p.m. with games at 4 p.m. and about 5:30 p.m.

PVRD’s Quabbin Missile Crisis (women’s B team) takes on the Salty Dolls from Cape Cod Roller Derby at 4. In the second game, the Dirty Dozen (men’s team) will make its season debut with a game against The World, a team comprised of skaters from throughout the Northeast.

Also, PVRD’s junior derby program will begin its next session on Aug. 15. The junior derby program meets Wednesdays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. for 12 weeks in Florence and is open to 13-17 year olds.

More information about the junior derby program, visit

Skaters bring home world titles

The following New England West Skating Club members participated in the 2018 ISI World Recreational Team Championships last week with skaters from across the U.S. and around the world:

Ruth Morse, of Hadley, competed in 12 events and won six golds, two silvers, one fourth place and one fifth place finish.

Maria Santore, of Sunderland, competed in two events and won one gold and one bronze medal.

Giorgia Santore, of Sunderland, competed in four events with a gold, two fourth-place finishes, and a fifth place.

Skaters represented the Collins-Moylan Arena in Greenfield and were coached by Suzanne McCaughtry and Stacy Chickering.

18U softball team to hold tryouts

The Whips 18-and-under softball team will host tryouts on Wednesday at Westfield High School.

For more information, contact Phil Genovese at or text 413-454-8531.

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