Western Mass. Div. 2 Track: Clark, Vecellio shine for boys, Frontier girls earn first (PHOTOS)

  • Frontier’s Jack Vecellio, from left, South Hadley’s Jonas Clarke and Hampshire’s Josh Denoronha compete in the 100m during the Western Mass. Div. 2 championship Saturday at Mohawk Trail Regional School in Buckland. Clarke finished first in 10.81 seconds, Vecellio in second in 11.54 and Denoronha seventh in 12.19. PHOTO BY DAN LITTLE

  • South Hadley’s Jonas Clarke crosses the finish of the 100m with a first place time of 10.81 seconds during the Western Mass. Div. 2 championship Saturday at Mohawk Trail Regional School in Buckland. PHOTO BY DAN LITTLE

  • South Hadley’s Emma Sanford competes to a first place finish in the high jump with a final jump of 5 feet, 1 inch, during the Western Mass. Div. 2 championship Saturday at Mohawk Trail Regional in Buckland. PHOTO BY DAN LITTLE

  • South Hadley’s Emma Sanford competes in the 100 hurdle prelims during the Western Mass. Div. 2 championship Saturday at Mohawk Trail High School in Buckland. PHOTO BY DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier’s Caroline Crocker, right, competes to a first place finish in the 100 hurdles with a time of 15.34 seconds with South Hadley’s Emma Sanford close behind placing second with a time of 15.45 seconds during the Western Mass. Div. 2 championship Saturday at Mohawk Trail High School in Buckland. PHOTO BY DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier’s Jack Vecelio competes to a first place finish in the pole vault with a final height of 16 feet during the Western Mass. Div. 2 championship Saturday at Mohawk Trail High School in Buckland. PHOTO BY DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier’s Alena Maes-Polan clears 9 feet, 6 inches, for a second place finish in the pole vault during the Western Mass. Div. 2 championship Saturday at Mohawk Trail High School in Buckland. PHOTO BY DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier’s Caroline Crocker competes in the 100 hurdle prelims during the Western Mass. Div. 2 championship Saturday at Mohawk Trail High School in Buckland. PHOTO BY DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier’s Caroline Crocker competes to a fourth place finish in the long jump with a final jump of 15 feet, 6.5 inches, during the Western Mass. Div. 2 championship Saturday at Mohawk Trail High School in Buckland. PHOTO BY DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier’s Abigail Howard competes to a fifth place finish in the 800 with a time of 2 minutes, 34.46 seconds, during the Western Mass. Div. 2 championship Saturday at Mohawk Trail High School in Buckland. PHOTO BY DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier’s Abigail Howard competes to a second place finish in the high jump with with a final jump of 5 feet during the Western Mass. Div. 2 championship Saturday at Mohawk Trail Regional School in Buckland. PHOTO BY DAN LITTLE

  • Hampshire Regional’s Grace Plumer competes to a fourth place finish in the high jump with with a final jump of 4 feet, 10 inches, during the Western Mass. Div. 2 championship Saturday at Mohawk Trail Regional School in Buckland. PHOTO BY DAN LITTLE

  • Hampshire Regional’s Sylvie Mahon-Moore runs to a third place finish in the 2 mile with a time of 12 minutes, 34.75 seconds, during the Western Mass. Div. 2 championship Saturday at Mohawk Trail High School in Buckland. PHOTO BY DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 5/22/2022 5:17:31 PM

BUCKLAND — You would have never known South Hadley’s Jonas Clark was coming off an injury that kept him sidelined for over a month. 

The senior couldn’t run in April due to a hamstring injury, just returning to the track last weekend. Despite that, Clark finished with a first-place finish in the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.81 seconds and also won the 200 with a sprint of 22.02 seconds at the Western Massachusetts Division 2 Track & field Championships on Saturday at Mohawk Trail High School. 

"Coming back from the injury and running these times makes me feel a lot more confident in myself,” Clark said. “I didn't run until last weekend. This is the first week my hamstring is feeling perfect. With everything, I'm excited for what's going to happen.

“I'm shooting for the state record of 10.36,” he continued. “We can get it. After that 100 prelim I know I can get it. That 100 prelim was a different level of sprinting. Hopefully I have another race like that soon." 

The 100 prelim was what had Clark most fired up after the race. While the time was 11 seconds flat, he cruised to the end and felt great about his start, something he hopes can carry over into the state meet next week. 

"For me, it's a me-versus-me type of situation," Clark said. "I'm not used to running four races in a row. Personally, my 100 prelim was one of my best 100 races I've ever had. I shut it down. The final wasn't as sound because of fatigue."

For Clark, the big races like Western Mass. are a good way to catch up with fellow competitors. 

"One of my favorite parts of track and field is that everyone is so supportive of each other," Clark said. "You don't find stuff like that in other sports. Your track rival can be your best friend. I've made so many friends with people I run against." 

Like many athletes, it was a day of running from event-to-event for Frontier’s Jack Vecellio. The senior took first in the pole vault (16-0), competed in the 4x400 and came in second in the 100 with a time of 11.54, only being defeated by Clark in the race. 

"It was a marathon," Vecellio said. "Got here, warmed up for pole vault, did my 100 trial before entering. Once I got the first event done it was go-go-go from there. It was a good day. I've been friends with Jonas for a long time so finally getting to race against him was fun. We've never competed with each other." 

At states next week, Vecellio is hoping to have a record-breaking day in the pole vault. 

"I want to break the state meet record," Vecellio said. "[The current mark of] 17-2 is a good mark. We're getting new poles and are trying to get on a new run. I think I'll be able to knock that out." 

Other local medalists were Hampshire’s Gulian Marconi in the 800 (second, 2:04.82) and Jack Seney in the 800 (third, 2:07.58), Belchertown’s Samuel Hunt in the 110 hurdles (third, 16.44), South Hadley’s Liam Sibley-Welch in the 400 hurdles (third, 61.85) and Easthampton’s Ryan O’Donnell in the high jump (third, 6-0). 

For athletes like Easthampton sophomore Giuseppe DeNucce-Simms, getting to be at a big meet for the first time was a great learning experience. 

"It was pretty great seeing a lot of kids who are crazy athletes," DeNucce-Simms said. "I called a lot of them demons because they're so great at what they were doing. I was in awe of some of the seniors. It was their last meet and they were doing extremely well. I enjoyed it even if I didn't do the best in my events. I like seeing everyone do well."

Frontier girls come out on top 

It was an all-around effort from the Frontier girls track team to get the job done on Saturday. Eleven different Redhawk girls scored points, with Frontier totaling 93 on the day to run away with a first place team finish. 

Lenox took second as a team with 69 points followed by Pope Francis in third with 65 points. 

“This was a total surprise,” Redhawks senior Alena Maes-Polan said. “I’m so proud of the girls. They did amazing today. We have so much young potential and it’s amazing that they’re coming out here and doing their jobs. It's amazing. Everybody did their part and we rose to the challenge.” 

A pair of first place finishes helped get the job done for Frontier. Sadie Ross won the javelin with a toss of 99 feet, seven inches while Caroline Crocker pulled out a first-place finish in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 15.34 seconds. 

Hannah Mackin took third in the mile (5:54.77), Abigail Howard earned second in the high jump (5-0) and Maes-Polan took second in the pole vault (9-6) to round of the Redhawk medalists on the day. Frontier took second as a team in the 4x800 relay (11:07.04). 

For Crocker, getting to race against top competition brought out the best in her. She took fourth in the long jump (15-6.5) and competed in the 4x100 relay to go along with her win in the 100 hurdles. 

"It was a very good day," Crocker said. "I didn't have any competition this season so coming here was stressful. There were a ton of teams I haven't gone against yet."

The junior had to turn it on late to assure a win in the 100 hurdles. South Hadley’s Emma Sanford was right on her trail, with Crocker edging her out by just 0.11 seconds to earn the victory. 

"I knew it was going to be close," Crocker said. "I could see her in the corner of my eye so I knew I had to go. It's a stressful race because there's a lot to focus on." 

Sanford excelled at every event she competed in on Saturday to pace the Tigers.

The junior took first in the high jump after winning a jump-off with Frontier’s Howard, with Sanford clearing the height of 5-1 on her first try to earn the first place finish in the event. 

Sanford then second in the 400 hurdles with a time of 68.70. 

"It was nice to win the high jump," Sanford said. "I ran 400 hurdles right after but that went OK. I was tired and nervous because I don't really like that race."

Last came the 100 hurdles, where Sanford set a personal record of 15.45 seconds, good for second place. 

"I PR'd in my finals," Sanford said. "That was really nice. I'm really happy about that. It's nice having that competition. I push myself more when people are around me."

Closing out the local medalists were Belchertown’s Molly Bail in the mile (second, 5:52.8), Hampshire’s Sylvie Mahon-Moore in the 2 mile (third, 12:34.75) and Tiger Abigail Gelinas in the 100 (third, 13.17). 


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