Northampton boys repeat as PVIAC indoor track champions

  • Bradyn Cote, right, of South Hadley, runs beside Gabriel Median, of West Springfield, in the mile during the PVIAC indoor track championships, Friday, Feb. 8, 2019 at Smith College. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Ethan Cooper, of Northampton, runs to a first place in the 600 meter. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Cole Lavalle, of Northampton, from left, Elijah Ayers, of Springfield Central, Junior Pontes da veiga, of Amherst Regional, and Benjamin Fang, of Amherst Regional, run the 55-meter dash during the PVIAC indoor track championships, Friday at Smith College. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Devin Dixon, center, of Amherst Regional, runs the 55-meter hurdles beside Maurice Powe, of Longmeadow, left, and Devin Donahue, of Chicopee Comp, during the PVIAC indoor track championships, Friday, Feb. 8, 2019 at Smith College. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Willem Goff, of Amherst Regional, runs to a fourth place in the mile during the PVIAC indoor track championships, Friday, Feb. 8, 2019 at Smith College. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Tucker Quinlan, of Northampton, crosses the finish line to take first place before celebrating with other relay team members during the PVIAC indoor track championships, Friday, Feb. 8, 2019 at Smith College. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Eben Saveson, right, of Northampton, heads to a second place in the 600-meter beside Mason Barrieau, of Athol, during the PVIAC indoor track championships, Friday, Feb. 8, 2019 at Smith College. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • The Northampton 4x200 relay team celebrates after winning the event during the PVIAC indoor track championships, Friday at Smith College. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Ben Gordon-Sniffen, of Northampton, runs to a first place in the 1000-meter during the PVIAC indoor track championships, Friday, Feb. 8, 2019 at Smith College. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Jonas Clarke, left, of South Hadley, takes the baton from Oscar Cruz during the PVIAC indoor track championships. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Tucker Quinlan, left, of Northampton, takes the baton from Ben Gordon-Sniffen in the 4x400-meter relay during the PVIAC indoor track championships, Friday, Feb. 8, 2019 at Smith College. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Jack Yanko, left, of Amherst Regional, and Ben Gordon-Sniffen, of Northampton, run a relay during the PVIAC indoor track championships, Friday, Feb. 8, 2019 at Smith College. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Kai Bailin, left, of Amherst Regional, and Tucker Quinlan, of Northampton, run the final leg of the 4x400-meter relay during the PVIAC indoor track championships, Friday at Smith College. Amherst won the event and Northampton was second. The Blue Devils, however, repeated as champions. Visit gazettenet.com for more photos and video. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

For the Gazette
Published: 2/9/2019 1:06:48 AM

NORTHAMPTON — For the second year in a row, Northampton took home first place at the PVIAC Boys Indoor Track and Field Championships.

Strong performances in the 600-meter, 1,000 and 4x200 relay led the Blue Devils to 89 points, Friday at Smith College.

“They have a chip on their shoulder,” Hamp coach Brandon Palmer said.

Palmer said his team’s strength is how experienced they are. Most of his 13 qualified runners are upperclassmen.

Ethan Cooper dominated the 600, jumping out to an early lead from the starting gun and gaining more ground as the race went on. Cooper finished with a time of 1 minute, 23 seconds, about three seconds ahead of his teammate and runner-up Eban Savenson.

Benjamin Gordon Sniffen, of Northampton, won his second straight 1,000 with a time of 2:32.89.

Northampton (1:35.24) placed first in the 4x200 by fractions of a second over Ludlow (1:35.70). In the same heat of the race, Amherst, which had the best seed time coming in, was disqualified when Ben Fang dropped the baton while it was being handed off by Kai Bailin. The mistake prompted teammates to throw their hands up in frustration.

Amherst coach David Thompson told the relay team not to worry about it and to focus on the closing 4x400 relay.

“I told them ‘you’ve got to stay focused, you’re going to hear a lot of chirping and everybody talking.’” Thompson said. “If you look at the race we were (favored) by a large margin so I knew it would take a mistake for someone to beat us.”

The Hurricanes took their coach’s advice, especially Bailin, who was the anchor on the 4x400. When Bailin received the baton he was at least 10 meters behind Tucker Quinlan, the anchor runner for Northampton, but as they rounded the final corner, the senior had a kick that overcame the deficit and won the race for Amherst by a nose, 3:32.93 to 3:33,08.

That kick gave Amherst 63 points to move into second place over West Springfield (63).

“First lap I was still tired and nauseous from the (4x200).” Bailin said, still gasping for air. “I just tried to take it easy and hang on behind him. By the end he was maybe five meters in front of me and I said ‘I’ve got to make this back, got to make up for that handoff so I just gave it everything I’ve got.”

Bailin also placed second in the 300 in 36.46. Cole Lavalle, of Northampton, was third in 36.57.

Amherst’s Junior Pontes de veiga came in first in the 55 dash with a time of 6.59 seconds, a personal record according to Thompson.

Fang also ran a personal-best 6.75 to place fifth. South Hadley freshman Jonas Clarke was third (6.62) and Lavalle was fourth (6.71).

West Springfield teammates Gabriel Medina and Jack Merck easily placed first and second, respectively, in the 2-mile but Northampton teammates and training partners Tim Jacques and Toby L’Esperance worked together to place third and fourth, respectively.

“We ran that race really tactically,” Jacques said. “I was just trying to keep the pace really smooth so that I could kick at the end and use my speed.”

Northampton finished fifth through eighth in the mile with Simon LaClair, Jacques, Benjamin Howe and L’Esperance, respectively.

Devin Dixon was second in the 55 hurdles (8.13) for Amherst. The Hurricanes were also second in the 4x800 with Northampton third.

South Hadley finished fifth in both the 4x400 and 4x800.




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