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PVIAC girls XC: Sophia Jacobs-Townsley, Amherst Regional sweep championships

  • Northampton girls cross country coach Leslie Charles holds up their team's trophy as her assistant, Tanya Rapinchuk, takes her picture after taking second place in the PVIAC cross country championships Saturday at Stanley Park in Westfield. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Girls teams begin their race during the PVIAC cross country championships Saturday at Stanley Park in Westfield. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Girls teams begin their race during the PVIAC cross country championships Saturday at Stanley Park in Westfield. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Sophia Jacobs-Townsley, of Amherst Regional, finishes first during the PVIAC cross country championships Saturday at Stanley Park in Westfield. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Meghan Davis, of Mohawk, finishes second during the PVIAC cross country championships Saturday at Stanley Park in Westfield. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Mary Yount, of Northampton, finishes third during the PVIAC cross country championships Saturday at Stanley Park in Westfield. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Amy O'Sullivan, of Greenfield, finishes fourth during the PVIAC cross country championships Saturday at Stanley Park in Westfield. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Girls teams, including Greenfield runners Jamie Day, front left, and Amy O'Sullivan, begin their race during the PVIAC cross country championships Saturday at Stanley Park in Westfield. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Julia Hopley, of Amherst Regional, finishes fifth during the PVIAC cross country championships Saturday at Stanley Park in Westfield. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Rosie Ingmann, of Northampton, finishes seventh during the PVIAC cross country championships Saturday at Stanley Park in Westfield. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Augusta Fricke, of Amherst Regional, finishes ninth during the PVIAC cross country championships Saturday at Stanley Park in Westfield. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Zada Forde, of Amherst Regional, crosses the finish line to earn eighth place during the PVIAC cross country championships Saturday at Stanley Park in Westfield. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Emma Yount, left, of Northampton, and Rebecca Drohen, of Southwick-Tolland, race to the finish during the PVIAC cross country championships Saturday at Stanley Park in Westfield. Yount took 11th place; Drohen placed 10th. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Jamie Day, left, of Greenfield, and Maddie Shea, of Amherst Regional, race to the finish during the PVIAC cross country championships Saturday at Stanley Park in Westfield. Shea placed 17th; Day finished 18th. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS



For the Gazette
Sunday, November 05, 2017

WESTFIELD — Sophia Jacobs-Townsley came close to setting a meet record.

The Amherst Regional junior didn’t quite get it, but her time of 18 minutes, 11 seconds separated her from the pack and she went on to claim her second straight PVIAC individual cross country title Saturday at Stanley Park.

More important to Jacobs-Townsley was that her team finished first with 39 points, 30 better than runner-up Northampton. Hampshire Regional took third with 105 points.

Jacobs-Townsley was four seconds shy of the 18:07 meet record set in 2012 by Frontier Regional’s Natalie Mako. She finished second as a freshmen and now has consecutive individual titles.

“I was trying to fluctuate with my pace,” Jacobs-Townsley said. “I was trying for around a six-minute pace. I was a little off, but the Mohawk girls (runner-up Meghan Davis) pushed me and really helped me a lot. I could hear her breathing down my shoulder.”

That was enough for Jacobs-Townsley, who finished strong and pulled away from Davis and the rest of the pack.

Next up is the Western Massachusetts Division 1 race on Saturday at Northfield Mountain. Jacobs-Townsley will be favored to prevail again in that contest. This will be her first time competing on that challenging course.

Which is why the PVIAC race was a perfect tuneup for her. The All-State meet will be held the week following Western Mass. in Wrentham and expectations will remain high for Jacobs-Townsley after her third-place finish one year ago.

“I’ve been working on 5K and 10K the past two weeks to improve my pace,” Jacobs-Towsley said.

The Hurricanes had four runners finish among the top 10, which helped them secure the team title. Julia Hopley was fifth (19:22), Zada Forde was eighth (19:37) and Augusta Fricke was ninth (19:57) in a race that saw the top 10 all turn in sub-20 minute times.

“That was a goal, for sure,” Hopley said. “I was doing it by feel and by competition.”

That competition included heralded teammate Jacobs-Townsley.

“She’s awesome and having her as a teammate is definitely inspirational to all of us to having someone who is elite,” Hopley said. “It’s great, especially in some of the shorter workouts – I’m a track girl – and I try to keep up with her.”

Teammate Maddie Shea was 17th in 20:18.

Mary Yount led Northampton. The sophomore took third in 18:51.

“I saw the clock and I still had a lot of energy left, so I started sprinting,” she said. “Our team did very well – almost everyone had personal bests.”

The Blue Devils’ Rosie Ingmann was seventh in 19:34 and Emma Yount was 11th in 20:02.

“We have a very tight bond as a team,” Mary Yount said.

Northampton coach Leslie Charles was happy for her team.

“These girls worked hard and deserved this,” Charles said. “I always look for improvement.”

Hampshire Regional was led by Lovisa Swedenborg. She finished 14th in 20:05. Teammate Lily Hakkarainen was 16th in 20:18 and Sophia Prouty was 22nd at 20:37.

South Hadley junior Jocelyne Rondeau was 15th in 20:13. The Tigers only had four runners and did not qualify for a team score.

Frontier was 12th (380), led by Emily Laus, who was 65th in 22:27.

Granby’s top finisher was Jenna Learned (96th, 23:37). The Rams were 15th (417).

Abigail Patel was 89th in 23:27 for Belchertown (18th, 545).

Gateway Regional (23rd, 762) was led by Madison Carpenter (156th, 25:35).