WMass Division 1 Girls Track: Northampton turns high hopes into celebration

  • The Northampton girls track & field team celebrates with its Western Massachusetts Division 1 Championship, Saturday at Holyoke High School. STAFF PHOTO/MIKE MORAN

Staff Writer
Published: 5/18/2019 5:01:21 PM

HOLYOKE — When Northampton freshman Quincy Biddle took the baton for the third leg of the 4x400-meter relay, she started running to a beat.

High Hopes by Panic! At the Disco was her jam, and there was certainly no panic in her run.

The Blue Devils were in a high-pressure situation. They needed to win the event and East Longmeadow needed to finish no better than fourth in order to win the Western Massachusetts Division 1 Championship, Saturday at Holyoke High School.

Biddle took the baton in first, but the Spartans passed her about halfway through the leg. Biddle recovered and turned her high hopes into a big celebration.

She handed the baton to Nava Chevan in first and Chevan ran away to first place. On that last lap, Northampton got help from rival Amherst Regional and Westfield, which both passed East Longmeadow to give Hamp its championship.

Northampton won with 138½ points. East Longmeadow had 137¾.

“I was watching them,” Biddle said of the Spartans. “We knew they we’re going to be our toughest competition and that if we wanted to do what we needed to we would have to beat them. They were coming up neck and neck, but when I grabbed the baton I just let it go and I started singing a song. I was like ‘I have to do this. I just have to run to the beat.’ And I did it. It was great.”

Northampton won the relay in 4 minutes, 12.7 seconds. Amherst was second (4:16.85) followed by Westfield (4:18.29) and East Longmeadow (4:18.98).

Maggie Stewart-Smith ran the opening leg for Hamp.

“It’s my favorite leg because I like setting the scene of what’s going to happen,” the sophomore joked.

Classmate Maggie Reade kept the Blue Devils in position on the second lap.

“We knew what we had to do and it was just going to be insanely close,” she said. “I had gotten into the lead and I heard someone behind me but I didn’t know who it was and I just had a gut feeling that it was the other team. I just knew I had to go.”

After Biddle maintained the lead, Chevan closed the door.

“I knew I had to go all out and do what every it would take,” she said.

They got some help too as Amherst and Westfield passed the Spartans down the stretch.

“It was a good day. I obviously didn’t know that by beating the rest of them would give my rivals the upper hand but you know, sometimes things happen,” joked Amherst junior Isabela Shepard, who ran the closing leg. “They played it fair and square.”

Northampton senior Emma Harder gave the team a big boost with a victory in the 100 dash. Harder has competed against Central’s Kyla Hill for four years and had never beaten her until Saturday. Harder ran 12.45 seconds to Hill’s 12.53.

“Halfway through when I saw myself coming up on her I was like this is too close,” Harder said. “I'm not going to let her beat me. I have to pull through for the team. We were so close to winning Western Mass. indoors we weren’t going to let it slip this year. It was crucial. I did it for the team.”

Northampton had several top performances.

Sophomore Adele Jordan won the 400 hurdles in 70.51 and was second (17.13) in the 100 hurdles.

Biddle took second (71.44) in the 400 hurdles and added a third (33-10½) in the triple jump. Harder also added a second (25.81) to Hill (25.52) in the 200.

Hamp loaded up in the 2-mile and took four places with Mary Yount (second, 11:44.53), Rosie Ingmann (fifth), Saraphina Forman (sixth) and Naomi Andrew (seventh).

Hamp also placed three in the mile with Peyton Pettiford-Rowan (second, 5:24.77), Yount (third) and Andrew (fifth).

Yount was second (2:24.51) in the 800 and Chevan was runner-up in the 400 (61.13).

Northampton’s 4x800 relay was second (10:37.22) and its 4x100 was third (52.18).

Amherst Regional finished third with 84 points.

Senior Sophia Jacobs-Townsley managed to add something new to her resume. The Hurricane senior was a three-event individual winner for the first time in her career.

She won the 2-mile (11:33.63), the mile (5:19.95) and the 800 (2:21.56).

“Usually I do a relay but this time we were trying to mix it up,” she said. “We have so much interchangeability on our team, especially in the 4x8. We decided to switch it up which was really fun but added a level of anxiety.”

That 4x800 of Julia Hopley, Maddie Shea, Zada Forde and Shepard won in 10:21.83.

Hopley added a third in the 800 and Forde was fourth in the 2-mile.

Shepard won the 400 in 58.98. She ran a similar time during her split in the 4x400 relay.

“I got 58 twice today for the 400. So that's good,” she said. “Next week, hoping to break 58. We'll see.”

The Central-West Division 1 Championships will be held Saturday at Fitchburg State University.


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