Northampton’s depth pays off with PVIAC indoor track boys championship

  • Aiden Foucault Etheridge, of Amherst Regional, runs the 600 meters during the PVIAC track championship, Friday. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Benjamin Gordon Sniffen, of Northampton, runs toward a victory in the 1,000 meters during the PVIAC track championship, Friday at Smith College. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Nick Peterson, of Northampton, runs the mile during the PVIAC track championship, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018 at Smith College. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

Saturday, February 10, 2018

NORTHAMPTON — Northampton only won one individual event at the boys PVIAC indoor championships Friday.

That didn’t keep the Blue Devils from repeating as champions and tying a team record for points at the league championship at Smith College.

“At the Western Mass. level, we’re probably the deepest team,” Ben Gordon Sniffen said. “To have only one event winner and come away with not only the win but, at least for us, the scoring record, that’s huge.”

Gordon Sniffen had the Blue Devils’ individual win, crossing the line first in the 1,000-meter run. He finished in 2 minutes, 41.06 seconds, just edging Holyoke’s Justin Kennedy (2:41.91).

“I executed my game plan pretty well, go out slow, control the tempo of the race and make sure I had enough with 300 to go,” Gordon Sniffen said. “I was able to carry it home.”

Five second-place finishes and four thirds buoyed Northampton’s overall score. The Blue Devils finished with 87 points. West Springfield was second with 78.5.

Christian Hodgson cleared 21 feet, 4 inches in the long jump despite not starting until last week. He was Northampton’s only field event competitor.

“I was just trying to place, get a couple points, but I popped something kind of cool,” Hodgson said.

Cole Lavalle was runner-up by .01 seconds twice. He ran the 55-meter dash in 6.74 seconds and the 300 in 36.42 seconds.

Northampton’s 4x800 relay finished second in 8:30.54, .05 seconds behind Holyoke.

The Blue Devils also loaded the 2-mile as coach Brandon Palmer entered six runners.

“We have the baddest cross country team in the fall, so we’ve got to have the baddest 2-mile team at indoors,” Palmer said.

Philip Hempstead led the charge in third at 9:59.27. Northampton placed three runners in the top six and had six of the top 14 in the event.

Northampton stumbled out of the gate in the 4x400 relay but closed strong to salvage fifth in 3:41.83. The Blue Devils were the top seed entering the event.

“You’ve always got to finish,” Palmer said.

Amherst won the 4x4 in 3:37.76. The Hurricanes finished sixth with 31 points.

Aidan Foucault Etheridge took first in the 600 in 1:23.38.

Even Levrault placed second in the shot put for South Hadley, throwing 47-1.5, which broke the school record.

Hampshire Regional’s Peter Jarek cleared 5-10 in the high jump to place fifth.

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com.