D1 PVIAC Track & Field Championships: Northampton girls defend title; Amherst’s Moria Leutjen wins 3 events

  • Amherst’s Isabel Rich is stunned after clearing the bar in the high jump at the PVIAC Division 1 track & field championships Friday in Holyoke. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Northampton’s Kendall Reynolds soars through the air int eh girls long jump at the PVIAC Division 1 track & field championships Friday in Holyoke. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Amherst’s Tamar Byl-Brann runs the girls mile at the PVIAC Division 1 track & field championships Friday in Holyoke. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Northampton’s Quincy Biddle, left, clears a hurdle during the girls 400-meter hurdles at the PVIAC Division 1 track & field championships Friday in Holyoke. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Amherst’s Tamar Byl-Brann charges toward the finish in the girls 800-meter run at the PVIAC Division 1 Track & Field Championships on Friday in Holyoke. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Amherst freshman Moriah Lutjen wins the 100-meter dash at the PVIAC Division 1 Track & Field Championships on Friday in Holyoke. She captured three individual victories. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Amherst freshman Moriah Lutjen wins the 200-meter dash at the PVIAC Division 1 Track & Field Championships on Friday in Holyoke. She captured three individual victories. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI—

Staff Writer
Published: 5/20/2022 10:00:59 PM

HOLYOKE — The Northampton girls track team has waited a long time to defend their Western Mass. title, but it was certainly worth the wait.

The Blue Devils picked up their second consecutive title on a beautiful Friday night, taking home the Western Mass. title with 114.5 points. The victory was highlighted by wins from Quincy Biddle in the 400 meter hurdles (70.65) and the 4x800 meter relay group. and runner-up titles from Kendall Reynolds in the long jump (16-5.75), Norah Reade in the mile (5:43.18), Isabel Rich in the high jump (4-10), Biddle in the 800 run (2:34.17). Amherst finished a close second place as a team with 107 points, thanks in large part to the phenomenal individual performances from Moriah Luetjen and Tamar Byl-Brann and a first place finish from the 4x100 meter relay (51.89) and 4x400 meter relay (4:22.89).

“It’s pretty crazy (to be back), especially having it in the same location. There are so many memories that come that only the seniors would know because we won it freshman year here,” Northampton senior Quincy Biddle said on competing in her first Western Mass meet since her freshman year. “We’re really trying to rebuild and show all the underclassmen and all the people on our team that we can come back strong.”

It was especially meaningful for the Northampton seniors to bookend their careers with Western Mass. championships, especially after losing the opportunity to compete in them because of the Covid-19 pandemic during their sophomore and junior years.

“I think what’s nice about it is that the group that are seniors lost a lot, and for them to have had the championship then, and then to finish this way - this is the best way for a send-off. They needed this.”

Though the Blue Devils won the team title, the most impressive individual performance of the day came from Amherst’s Luetjen, who won three back-to-back events. Luetjen ran a personal best to win the title in the 400 meter run (60.88),and immediately turned around and won the 200 meter final (25.76), the next event after the 400. After a leisurely break for the 110 hurdles, Luetjen got back in her blocks and flew across the finish line first in the 100 meter dash (12.82).

“It’s just really exciting. I feel like a lot of it’s just adrenaline,” Luetjen said. “There’s a lot going on but once I’m in the race then it’s really easy to focus in and narrow my thoughts to just the races and not think about what I’m going to do or what I’ve just done.”

Amherst head coach Christopher Gould knew that he had a talented group of athletes, but that they would face a tough task against a deep Northampton team. He was thrilled with their finish as   runners-up on Friday. 

“We overachieved at every level. Although now that I've said that, I don't think we actually overachieved — I think that’s how good we are,” Gould said. “I just think our handful of girls who were here to perform, did everything as well as they could possibly have done it.”

Also earning two individual titles was Tamar Byl-Brann. Byl-Brann crossed the finish line first in both the mile (5:37.57) and the 800 meter run (2:25.48). She also anchored the Hurricanes’ 4x400 relay team to a win, the “cherry on top” of her evening. 

“It's fun — it feels good,” Byl-Brann said on winning multiple events. “It's nice to see like the work paying off anything that you want to

Other notable performances for Northampton included Esme Marini-Rapoport, who took third for the girls in the two mile with a time of 12:15.68, Kira French, who place second in the 400 meter run (63.74) by less than a tenth of a second, Reade who placed third in the 800 run (2:35.61), Camilla Brewer, who placed third in the triple jump (12-9) and Yelena Caldanaro, who placed fourth in the high jump with a 4-8 mark. 

For the Hurricanes, Amherst’s Anajisa Robinson placed third in the 200 meter dash (27.45) and freshman Elizabeth Sawicki finished third in the 100 hurdles (18.20) and fourth in the 400 hurdles (73.48). Their 4x800 meter relay team also came in second place, just six seconds behind Northampton, with a time of 11:16.24)


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