Winter sports preview: South Hadley, Northampton girls on PVIAC collision course

  • Farrell Dawson, left, of South Hadley, and Maggie Reade, of Northampton, begin a relay last season. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Lindsay Marjanski, of South Hadley, high jumps during the 2019 PVIAC indoor track championships, at Smith College. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Nava Chevan, right, of Northampton, heads to the finish ahead of Farrell Dawson, of South Hadley, during the PVIAC indoor track championships, Feb. 8 at Smith College. South Hadley won the title by one point over Northampton. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Isabela Shepard, of Amherst Regional, wins the 600-meter at the 2019 PVIAC championships. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Jonas Clarke, left, of South Hadley, takes the baton from Oscar Cruz during the PVIAC indoor track championships, Feb. 8 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

  • Willem Goff, of Amherst Regional, runs the mile last season. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Junior Pontes da Veiga and Benjamin Fang, of Amherst Regional, run the 55-meter dash during the PVIAC indoor track championships, Feb. 8 at Smith College. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • 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

Staff Writer
Published: 12/13/2019 9:00:33 AM
Modified: 12/13/2019 9:00:21 AM

The South Hadley and Northampton girls indoor track teams are on a collision course again.

The Tigers edged the Blue Devils by one point at the 2019 PVIAC indoor championship.

The Blue Devils got their Western Massachusetts title during the outdoor season, winning the Division 1 meet by 0.8 points over East Longmeadow. South Hadley, meanwhile, lapped the Division 2 field by 19 points.

Back indoors, both teams feature deep and talented athletes ready to take another run at the Western Massachusetts title.

“The girls know what the whole coaching staff expects,” South Hadley coach Nick Davis said. “The younger girls are coming into a squad where the veterans have already, just out of the first two days, set the tone for how we work, what’s going to be expected at practice, what’s going to be expected at meets. We walked in day one talking about how we want the hoodie to say three-time Western Mass. champs, not just back to back. That’s where we’re at.”

The one-point margin came when South Hadley won the closing 4x400-meter relay while Northampton placed fourth, less than a second behind Longmeadow.

That runner-up finish for the Blue Devils could have been a title had Northampton’s 4x200-meter relay not been disqualified for an exchange zone violation.

South Hadley finished fourth in that event.

“The goal is now they need to train and they need to get back up to speed with that relay and practice handoffs and do it multiple times,” Northampton coach Linda Rowbotham said. “They do that, we should be in good shape.”

Lindsay Marjanski, Maddie Doolittle and Farrell Dawson give the Tigers a great starting point.

“We have some depth in quite a few places,” Davis said. “It’s going to be hard to replace those girls who graduated, especially with how good some of them were, but I think we’re in a solid spot where we can replace and build off what they left us. I’m excited about the prospects of our younger kids.”

The Tigers feature 14 members of the girls state champion soccer team. Between indoor and outdoor track, and a perfect soccer season, the athletes are familiar with winning.

“They are coming in with the expectation that we are going to do whatever we can to keep the wins rolling,” Davis said. “They are getting accustomed to winning but that doesn’t mean we are allowing them at any point to get lax at all. We’re going to keep the intensity even higher than it used to be. At this point we’re looking to continue to improve and the only way we can improve is if they continue to PR.

“They’re an impressive group of girls to watch,” Davis added. “They’ve shown that they’ll do what it takes, but they are also coming in with natural talent, which never hurts. The work ethic is some of the best I’ve ever seen in the time I’ve been coaching.”

The Blue Devils return a strong group led by Adele Jordan, Nava Chevan, Maggie Reade and Mary Yount.

“Mile and 2-mile are her two normal races,” Rowbotham said of Yount. “But I think this year we may focus more on the mile. She is also a key member of the 4x8. Mary has a lot of speed. The endurance combined with speed makes her a very strong force in the indoor season.”

Rowbotham also has over 30 new athletes, including 27 freshmen.

“The milers and 2-milers that were part of the cross country cohort are just as strong as ever and we brought in a few other really strong underclassmen,” Rowbotham said. “Going into the sprints, even though we had a few losses, the underclassmen last year were extremely strong, especially some of the sophomores and some freshmen. Those individuals are back. I think were pretty well rounded.”

South Hadley has 10 freshmen to work into the fold. Several will be worked into relays as the Tigers build versatility up and down the lineup.

“We have a few younger girls who have come in that are very quick and I think the diversity is going to be another strong suit for us,” Davis said. “The way we are training the girls right now is going to set us up where we don’t have to worry about relays again. We’re hoping to be top three across the board.”

NORTHAMPTON BOYS — The Blue Devils are coming off a sectional cross country title and are in a good position to make a run at a fourth straight PVIAC championship.

Tobias L’Esperance swept the PVIAC and WMass distance titles in the fall and leads a distance team of Simon LaClair, Benjamin Howe, Eben Savenson and Tim Jacques.

The Blue Devils also received a boost with the addition of nine football players to their throwing program.

“We were pleasantly surprised when they all of a sudden materialized,” Rowbotham said.

AMHERST REGIONAL — The Hurricanes will be led by Junior Pontes da Veiga and Ben Fang in the sprints, Willem Goff, Patrick Cooper and Noah Johansson in the distance events, and Darius Robinson in the jumps.

Robinson, a junior, competed in the triple jump (freshman division) at outdoor nations as a freshman.

Several athletes played for the state runner-up football team.

“I think now, coming off a strong football season, (Robinson’s) confidence and strength is a little higher than the year before,” coach David Thompson said. “All these guys are ready to perform.”

Isabela Shepard, who won the PVIAC 600 last winter, is back for the girls team.

Shepard skipped the cross country season to train and be ready for track.

“She’s going to pop out a number early,” Thompson said. “She has that ability. She’s been training to have that ability coming out.”


Amherst Regional

COACH: David Thompson, 10th year

LEAGUE/DIVISION: Pioneer North/4



ATHLETES: Mohamed Abdel-Maksoud, Julian Cartagena, Patrik Cooper, Ben Fang, Willem Goff, Tony Govan Jr., Ethan Howard, Noah Johansson, Antonio Polino, Junior Pontes da Veiga, Derek Sherwood, Josh Vecchio; Juniors — Indra Carpio-Pretel, Claudio Giavalisco, Jackson Hinkel, Connor Plankey, Darius Robinson, CJ Woodfine-Holmes; Sophomores — Benjamin Buffone, Keidy Cardoso, Peter Carlson-Belanger, Evan Dooley, Louis Douville Beaudoin, Sebastian Fernandez, Joseph Green, Luka Karlovich, Carter Stevens, Daniel Valitt, Henry Webster, Landes Worgess.

OUTLOOK: The Hurricanes placed fourth at the 2019 state Division 4 championship. Pontes da Veiga won the PVIAC 55 dash while Fang was fifth. A lot of middle and long distance runners graduated. Goff, Dole, Cooper and Johansson will look to fill those holes. Several football players will look to bring their gridiron speed to the track. Robinson is a strong jumper.

Hampshire Regional

COACH: Jeff Carreiro, first year




RETURNING ATHLETES: Seniors — Max MacFadzen, distance; Aiden Brastaad, sprints; Cobi Loud, shot put; Juniors — Miles Lance, distance; Jackson Faiella, distance; Guilian Marconi, sprints; Sophomores — Ethan Brastaad, shot put; Nitesh Roncone, distance; Jack Seney, distance; Eighth grade — Tim Cahill, distance; Nick Brisson, distance; Ben Plummer, sprints; Devin Lamae, shot put.

NEWCOMERS: Seniors — Kyle Montegue, sprints; Juniors — Jayden Kopie, sprints; Julian Grieve, sprints; Zach O’Connell, shot put; Juniors — Avery O’Connell, jumps; Reese Hillenbrand, hurdles; Aydan Olligano, sprints; Sophomore — Sam Barnes, shot put; Freshmen — Josh Denoronha, jumps; Nate Godden, jumps; Spencer Reese, sprints; Eighth grade — Owen Connor, sprints; Nick Elias Gillette, distance; Seventh grade — Carter Cleary, distance; Daniel Martin, sprints; Jack Laliberte, sprints; Evan Moultan, distance.

OUTLOOK: The Raiders did well during the regular season, but qualified few athletes for the PVIAC meet. Of the three individuals to qualify, only MacFadzen (mile) returns. The Raiders placed eighth in the 4x800 relay. A large group of newcomers gives the program a boost.


COACH: Karla Rodriguez, first year

LEAGUE/DIVISION: Pioneer South/2



ATHLETES: Seniors — Bryan Gonzalez Melendez, Donavan Kro, Jack Shea, Jacob Swinehart, Leighton Young, Michael Villegas; Juniors — Cadence Boria, Marco Diaz Moore, Rodrigo Espinoza, Eric Fournier, Marcel Guzik, Jack Narey, Adam Pellerin, Riley Shea, Aidan Sullivan, Stephen Szewczyk, Christopher Walsh, Jakob Rist; Sophomores — Gabriel Cedeno, Dylan Kennedy, Zachary Kent, Misael Rios; Freshmen — Jonathan Duran Encarnacion, Nelson Figueroa, Calet Sanchez Diaz, Gavin Sullivan, Jake Swindell, Zavier Vargas.

OUTLOOK: Shea will look to build off his strong cross country season. Kro placed third in the 1,000 at the PVIAC meet and should contend this season for the title. The Purple Knights are the defending 4x800 PVIAC relay champs.


COACH: Brandon Palmer, fourth year

LEAGUE/DIVISION: Pioneer North/4



ATHLETES: Seniors — Gareth Addis, Nathaniel Bidus, John Diggins, Henry Ferrari, Benjamin Howe, Timothy Jacques, Wallace Johnson, Simon LaClair, Tobias L’Esperance, Jacob Revelo, Eban Savenson, Harry Starr, Lucas Stenson, Pierre-Marie Venne, Natneal Walton, Daniel White, Edwin Zaruma Buri, Kaleb Zuckerman; Juniors — Ari Benjamin, Sam Bridgman, Julian Clark, Andrew Dean, Isidore Donnelly, Jasper Fletcher, Brett Holden, Jonathan Lischetti, Ben Newsome, Tor Olsson, Yano Porter, Glenn Rice, Lars Sippel; Sophomores — Chance Asbornsen, Alexander Caldanaro, Bodhi Cantor, Cole Riley, James Galvin, Jackson Greene, Daniel Huntley, Tyrese Jordan Cox, Andrew Meyer, Kai Paik, Maxwell Schneider, Zachary Wheat; Freshmen — Griffin Adelmann, Parker Aimi-Starkoski, Alden Bacon, Simon Dostal, Jake Fein, Ezra Ferrari, Isaac Godin, Zachary Guswa, Rowan Hodgson, Brady Kerwood, Nikolai Korza, Rory Maurer, Jude Mourad, Trey Rivera, John Senn-McNally, Conor Stiles, Jack Sullivan, Peter Sullivan, Lucien Vaget.

OUTLOOK: The Blue Devils fell one-point shy of adding a second postseason title in 2019, finishing second at state Division 4 meet. While Hamp lost a lot of top athletes, it returns a strong cast. L’Esperance swept the PVIAC and WMass cross country titles. Savenson, LaClair, Jacques and Howe can run any distance event. Relays will be strong. Hamp will need to find a sprinter and improve in jumping events.

South Hadley

COACH: Tim Laroche, second year




RETURNING ATHLETES: Seniors — Bradyn Cote, Ryan Levrault, Seth Beiser, Oscar Cruz, John Hoefler, Caleb Kovalchik; Juniors — Theo Abrams, Tommy Gebhardt, Davian Lopez, Max McCurdy, Andrew O’Grady, Ashton Sanford, Griffin Schoenborn; Sophomores — Jacob Broyles, Jonas Clarke, Tim Cote, Dylan Cousineau, Tyrone Irwin, Jakob Jackson, Matt McDermott.

NEWCOMERS: Seniors — Justin Kennedy, Anthony Pisciotta, Bryan Wolf; Juniors — James Couture, Grady Provost; Sophomores — Harry Baptiste, Tyler Evans, Liam Sibley-Welch; Freshman — Ricky Kida.

OUTLOOK: Clarke took third place in the freshman 60-meter dash at New Balance Indoor Nationals last winter. He built off that season to have a tremendous outdoor campaign. He is one of the top sprinters in the region. Cote and Kennedy lead the distance team. Levrault was third in the shot put at PVIAC.


Amherst Regional

COACH: Mulazimuddin S. Rasool, 47th year overall

LEAGUE/DIVISION: Pioneer North/4



ATHLETES: Seniors — Danielle Beason, Isabela Shepard, Joy Yamagiwa; Juniors — Leakhena Chham, Hadley Doin, Ashirah DeviDalomba, Grace Garman; Sophomores — Rawan Elfawal, Helena Benhamou Goldfajn, Emily Ireland, Adalene Kelly, Katherine Leonard, Maysah Campbell Morton, Anajisa Robinson, Eunseo Ryu, Sky Yamagiwa; Freshmen — Adriana Lyra Brazao, Marlene Hite, Kendra Saunders, Juliana Shepard; Eighth grade — Alexandria Scott-Allen, Anika Alschuler, Rebecca Feldberg, Sarah Tierney, Leila Toro; Seventh grade — Kelvianys Diaz Alicea, Ruby Austin, Violet Berube, Janelys Santos Despiau, Morgan Hughes, Sonia Nashirah, Gemma Polino, Sienna Zephyr.

OUTLOOK: Shepard had strong indoor and outdoor seasons last year then took the cross country season off to train for track. She is the defending PVIAC 600 champ. Beason, Dole and Robinson give the ’Canes a strong sprinting group.

Hampshire Regional

COACH: Kate Dorsey, first year




RETURNING ATHLETES: Seniors — Anne Curran, distance; Mary Elias-Gillette, shot put; Junior — Maddie Jenkins, distance; Sophomores — Allie Brisson, distance; Summer Poudrier, sprints; Laila Skawski, distance; Hannah Wodecki, shot put; Freshmen — Delaney Cantwell, sprints; Lilly Desroches, sprints; Natalie Rooney, sprints; Eighth grade — Chole Adams, sprints; Ava Guida, sprints; Katie Shalcross, distance; Hailey Wodeki, shot put.

NEWCOMERS: Sophomore — Molly Halpin, distance; Eighth grade — Kaylee Rooney, sprints; Seventh grade — Kailee Roncone, sprints.

OUTLOOK: The Raiders graduated their most consistent scorer and lost one of their top distance runners to a nordic skiing cooperative with Mohawk Trail. Hannah Wodecki (high hump, shot put) qualified for the PVIAC meet.


COACH: Karla Rodriguez, first year

LEAGUE/DIVISION: Pioneer South/2



ATHLETES: Seniors — Lindsey Dusseault, Selena Garcia-Rodriguez, Jaydah Rivera, Morgan Sheehan; Juniors — Samantha Authier, Paige Brainard, Maeve Norton, Amaya Olivero, Moira Reardon, Mercedes Ventura, Lauryn Wresein; Sophomores — Leslie Brazeau, Tiana Johnson, Leeani Olivieri, Nayellie Sanchez, Ziona Young; Freshmen — Ayiana Colon, Erin Gauthier, Victoria Lempke, Aleahny Negron, Leilani Perez.

OUTLOOK: The Purple Knights’ 4x200 relay team placed seventh at the PVIAC. The young team will look to qualify more individuals for the postseason.


COACH: Linda Rowbotham, third year

LEAGUE/DIVISION: Pioneer North/4



ATHLETES: Seniors — Nicole Adams Causton, Nava Chevan, Samantha Ginzburg, Lila Lofving, Ariana Plante, Willa Sippel, Mary Yount; Juniors — Alexa Abild, Naomi Andrew, Saraphina Forman, Raissa Ifelo, Adele Jordan, Talia Monroe, Maggie Reade, Maggie Stewart-Smith, Kate Sullivan, Kendyll Wing; Sophomores — Leah Abel Waisman, Lainitte Alicea, Lauren Baranowski, Quincy Biddle, Roxana Clauson, Caroline Cooper, Meena Goswami, Lila Kirley, Hallie Krause, Esme Marini-Rapoport, Kendall Reynolds, Chalotte Ribe, Annabelle Sellers, Lily Shimpach, Ava Springfield, June Steere; Freshmen — Abby Achmad, Amelia Achmad, Elizabeth Agostino-Pierce, Sophia Band, Deasia Barnaby Feldhus, Aviva Barry, Allicyan Chin, Jleigh Cochrane, Emma Cunningham, Anna Cuthbert-Laidlaw, Izzy Epstein, Monica Fisher-Piccininno, Chloe Gawle, Scout Greenwood, Lila Hensley, Haley Miller, Emma Newsome, Kaya Sol Perry, Audrey Quinn, Norah Reade, Anna Ryan, Sophie Saxe, Theo Starr, Olivia Sylvester, Jenna Wooster, Anna Zamer, Lily Zamer.

OUTLOOK: The Blue Devils have some holes to fill but they have good depth. Chevan, Biddle, Reade, Yount, Andrew and Forman can run anything from middle to long distances. A freshman class of 27 gives the program plenty to work with.

South Hadley

COACH: Nick Davis, sixth year




ATHLETES: Seniors — Meg Bonney, Hannah Bisson, Maddie Doolittle, Breann Foley, Grace Harrington, Taylor Jackson, Moira Mackey, Lindsay Marjanski, Hailey Werenski; Juniors — Emma Blaney, Katelyn Carleton, Kat Chouinard, Sabrina Cruz, Farrell Dawson, Anna Evans, Maddie Foley, Ella Francis, Makayla Guerin, Myah Houle, Melanie Hurley, Lily Matias, Macey Moriarty, Jessica Saravia, Molly Schlosstein; Sophomores — Bella Alcaraz, April Hurley, Ella Marion, Chloe Parsons, Grace Pisciotta, Nadia Rusiecki, Sarah Wojnarowski; Freshmen — Rachel Govin, Audissey Hill, Ester Ngure, Ruth Pietrzykowski, Emma Sanford, Summer Schark, Ashley Scott, Lexi Stratton, Rylee Suchenicz, Salle Waite.

OUTLOOK: The Tigers are seeking a third straight PVIAC title. They will also look to improve on their fourth place at the state Division 5 meet. Marjanski can do a lot. She just missed qualifying for the pentathlon at nationals.


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