Tobias L’Esperance paces Northampton boys cross country past South Hadley, Sabis

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  • Northampton, South Hadley and Sabis runners begin their race during a cross-country meet in Northampton, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Jacob Broyles, of South Hadley, finishes fifth during a cross-country meet against Northampton and Sabis, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019 in Northampton. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Brady Cote, of South Hadley, finishes third during a cross-country meet against Northampton and Sabis, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019 in Northampton. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Ben Howe, of Northampton, finishes fourth during a cross-country meet against South Hadley and Sabis, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019 in Northampton. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Justin Kennedy, of South Hadley, finishes sixth during a meet against Northampton and Sabis, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019 in Northampton. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Toby L'Esperance, of Northampton, finishes first during a cross-country meet against South Hadley and Sabis, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019 in Northampton. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Simon LaClair, of Northampton, finishes second during a cross-country meet against South Hadley and Sabis, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019 in Northampton. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

Staff Writer
Published: 9/10/2019 10:14:10 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Entering this cross country season, Tobias L’Esperance had one top overall finish in a meet for Northampton.

The senior now has two.

L’Esperance finished the 3.1-mile course at Community Gardens in 16 minutes, 41 seconds to lead the Blue Devils past South Hadley and Sabis on Tuesday.

Northampton defeated the Tigers, 22-35, and the Bulldogs, 15-50. South Hadley defeated Sabis, 22-35.

Blue Devils senior Simon LaClair came in second in 16:59. South Hadley’s Bradyn Cote finished third in 17:52.

“We have a good mix, but we do have more seniors than any grade,” Northampton first-year coach Dave Reinhart said. “They are going to carry the torch with their experience. They know what to do. We are pleased with our first effort today.”

L’Esperance put together a solid campaign last fall, including a sixth-place finish at the PVIAC championships.

“Tobias worked really hard this summer,” Reinhart said. “He came in prepared. We have big goals for him. We expect him to finish high at the invitationals. He expects himself to finish high at the Pioneer Valley Championships and at Western Mass., hopefully states too.”

Northampton has several talented upperclassmen like L’Esperance, senior Ben Howe (fourth, 17:59) and LaClair, but the program is excited about how some of the team’s younger runners could contribute throughout the season as well.

Freshman David Shycon finished seventh overall in 18:55 and sophomore Max Schneider finished eighth in 19:02 for the Blue Devils.

The Tigers had four top-10 finishers. Following Cote were Jacob Broyles (fifth, 18:06), Justin Kennedy (sixth, 18:31) and Andrew O’Grady (ninth, 19:32).

Kennedy joined the program as a transfer from Holyoke High School. The senior, who is also a standout in track & field, has known Cote and some other members of the program since kindergarten.

“It’s a dream him and I always have had since we started running in high school,” Cote said. “We always said it would be pretty cool to run on the same team, but we pushed it aside. It’s great to see him on the team now. He helps with the culture. The team chemistry is a lot higher. I love it.”

It’s taking some time for him to fully get settled, but Kennedy is enjoying the process of learning a new school and getting to know new teammates.

“It’s a little different,” Kennedy said. “At Holyoke there was a bigger squad. Here I feel like I’m really close with the guys. ... Getting used to a new school and team has been challenging, but the training has been positive all-around.”




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