WMass girls cross country: Amherst’s Sophia Jacobs-Townsley repeats; Northampton wins third straight team title

  • Amherst Regional sophomore Sophia Jacobs-Townsley, shown above winning the PVIAC cross country meet, won the Western Massachusetts Division 1 title Sunday at Stanley Park. GAZETTE STAFF/FILE

For the Gazette
Published: 11/13/2016 9:17:49 PM

WESTFIELD — Repeating is never easy, but Amherst Regional’s Sophia Jacobs-Townsley and the Northampton girls cross country team were able to accomplish that feat Sunday.

Jacobs-Townsley won her second straight Western Massachusetts Division 1 individual crown and the Blue Devils captured their third consecutive team title at Stanley Park.

Jacobs-Townsley covered the 3.1-mile course in 19 minutes.

“This was more of a relaxed race and it was really more about the team today,” Jacobs-Townsley said. “We’ve been trying to keep the intensity level up.”

Northampton finished first with 31 points. Amherst was second with 55.

The Blue Devils and Hurricanes will compete in Saturday’s state meet in Gardner.

Northampton was led by senior Leila Markosian. She was one of four Blue Devils to place among the top 10, along with Evelyn Burke (third), Jemma Fisher (sixth) and Mairead Blatner (seventh).

Emma Yount (20:50) was the Blue Devils’ fifth in 13th. Freshman Mary Yount turned in a top 20, finishing in 19th in 21:17.

Markosian, who joined the Blue Devils after moving from Washington state in 2015, finished 44 seconds behind Jacobs-Townsley. She kept up with her pace for the first two miles, but knew better than to try to stay with her for the final mile.

“I know she’s a strong racer who has a lot of strategy she puts together for every race,” Markosian said. “I know she goes out and tries to control the pace. I knew if I tried to make a pass it wouldn’t last very long.”

Last year, Markosian was sixth.

“I think having another year of training under my belt and this was my last race at Stanley Park really motivated me,” she said.

Burke (20:01), Fisher (20:37) and Blatner (20:38) all finished strong.

“We lost a lot of seniors from last year and we definitely wanted to come back strong,” Burke said. “It’s exciting. We all worked together and everyone improved.”

Ryan Davis is the Blue Devils fourth coach in as many years and he credited the team’s depth for putting them over the top.

“They are a close group and they work well together,” Davis said.

Amherst got a big boost from Augusta Fricke, who finished fourth in 20:21. Julia Hopley finished eighth in 20:38, while freshman Zada Forde’s 15th place in 20:56 was important for the Hurricanes.

South Hadley missed qualifying for states by 11 points. The Tigers (123 points) finished fourth behind qualifier Wahconah.

Jocelyn Rondeau (20:48) finished 12th and will represent the Tigers at the state meet.

Jillian Paterwic was 30th in 21:53 for Belchertown (10th).

In the Division 2 championship, fourth-place Hampshire, which took third a week earlier at PVIACs, missed qualifying for states by 16 points. Lenox (34) won followed by Mount Greylock (91) and Mohawk (99).

“It’s certainly disappointing, but the girls worked very hard this season and I have no complaints,” Hampshire coach Sue Tracy said.

Sophia Prouty led the Raiders after she came in 13th in 20:12. Prouty will represent Hampshire at the state meet.

“My goal was to get top 15,” Prouty said. “I’ve been working very hard and our coaches really pushed us to run to our potential.”

Frontier’s Fiona Ferry (22:54) was 45th. She has endured hip problems.

“My goal was to be back where I’ was two years ago,” she said. “I’m battling through the injuries and my teammates are just awesome.”

Easthampton resident Haley Sullivan was ninth in 19:52 for Pope Francis.

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