Frontier girls cap undefeated cross country season

  • Runners take off from the starting line during the girls race between Frontier and Pioneer on Monday in South Deerfield. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Frontier Regional’s Angelina Egland, front, moves through the early portion of the race followed by Pioneer’s Sahan Heilman on Monday in South Deerfield. Visit for more photos. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Pioneer’s Sahana Heilman finished first overall to pace her team in a meet against Frontier on Monday in South Deerfield. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Runners take off from the starting line during the girls race between Frontier and Pioneer on Monday in South Deerfield. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Frontier’s Angelina Egland finished second overall during a meet against Pioneer on Monday in South Deerfield. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • The boys first wave of runners takes off between Frontier and Pioneer on Monday in South Deerfield. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Pioneer's Noah de Ruiter crosses the line first overall in a meet against Frontier on Monday in Deerfield. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Frontier's Aleks Carey finished second in South Deerfield on Monday in a meet against Pioneer. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 11/9/2020 9:00:13 PM

SOUTH DEERFIELD — After 41 years coaching the Frontier Regional cross country team, there’s little Bob Smith has yet to accomplish.

One thing remaining from his coaching legacy was a perfect record for his girls team, and he accomplished that for the first time Monday. The host Red Hawks picked up a 20-43 victory over Pioneer Regional, closing out their season with an unblemished record.

“In all our years I’ve coached, we always lost at least once and always lost to Mohawk,” Smith said. “This is the first time we beat everybody. It’s great, but I feel bad for this particular group of kids that they weren’t able to go to (the) Western Mass. (championship). They’re a strong group and they’re deep. We have a nice pack of runners.”

Frontier didn’t have the overall winner of the race, but it did have the next seven runners across the finish line to seal the win. All seven finished within two minutes of each other.

Angelina Egland was the first Red Hawk across, scoring a second-place showing with a time of 18 minutes, 36 seconds. Lucia Doulette (19:45) narrowly beat teammate Abigail Howard (19:46) to the finish line as the pair took third and fourth, and Ayla Starr came in at 19:59 to finish fifth.

Leah Gump (sixth, 20:00), Sasha Malo (seventh, 20:05) and Olivia Deane (eighth, 20:21) also placed in the top 10 for Frontier.

The Red Hawks may have had a plethora of runners near the top of the leaderboard, but none were able to cross the finish line before Pioneer’s Sahana Heilman. The eighth-grader blitzed through the course in 18:06 to finish first.

While Heilman was surrounded by a pack of Frontier runners midway through the race, she was able to maintain enough stamina to break away down the stretch and best the field by 30 seconds.

“I was worried that I was the only Pioneer runner with a bunch of Frontier runners,” Heilman said. “I didn’t have anyone I knew so I didn’t know what pace they go at. It was exciting being up front. I paced myself pretty well so I could save enough to have a good finish. It feels like a big accomplishment to win a race like this.”

Pioneer’s Lucy Koester took ninth overall in 20:50, while Laila Heilman came in 10th (20:55). Pioneer coach Gina Johnson has been impressed by the Heilman sisters, both of whom came over from the soccer team.

“(Sahana) and her sister, they’re smart runners,” Johnson said. “They get the mindset of what running is about. You can give any kid a workout, but the two of them are so smart. They have the brain to be impressive runners. They’re driven and know what they need to do.”

Boys meet

Noah de Ruiter put his undefeated streak on the line in the boys race. The senior was able to fend off a fierce pack of Red Hawks, taking first place in 16:22.

Like the girls race, Pioneer had the individual winner, but Frontier won the meet, 20-43. Following de Ruiter across the finish line was Frontier’s Aleks Carey, marking the first time this season Carey was his team’s first runner.

“I started off pretty slow and pretty far behind, which I always do,” Carey said. “I worked my way up throughout the race as other people were slowing down and saved enough energy for the finish.”

It was a pack of Red Hawk teammates behind Carey. Dan Fellows took third in 17:23, followed by Aden Gray (17:31) in fourth and Luke Howard (17:41) in fifth.

Frontier’s Patrick Boyden took sixth (17:42) with teammates Erich Brown (seventh, 17:55), Amory Maxey (eighth, 18:14) and Oliver Brown (10th, 19:58) not far behind.

On Saturday in Orange, the Frontier boys team raced to a 23-32 victory over the Mahar co-ed squad, with five Red Hawk runners placing in the top seven.

Senator Stephen Gaj was the overall winner in 21:47. Gaj narrowly outlasted Fellows (second, 21:55) and Carey (third, 21:58).

Gray (22:28) placed fifth, with Brown (sixth, 23:21) and Boyden (seventh, 23:27) joining him as top 10 placers.

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