On Saturday, November 14, the Mt. Greylock girls’ cross country team competed in the Western Mass. DII Championship on the five-kilometer course at Stanley Park in Westfield, MA. With all seven runners finishing in the top forty, the Mounties took third place as a team behind only Lenox and Hampshire, earning a slot in the State Championships next Saturday.
Freshman Margo Smith led the Mounties, taking eighth place overall as she finished the course in 19:33. Bella Bote, a sophomore, finished second for Mt. Greylock and 23rd overall with a time of 20:54. Six seconds after Bote crossed the finish-line, junior Niku Darafshi, senior Ellie Williams, and junior Emily Lescarbeau finished within two seconds of each other in 26th, 27th, and 28th place respectively. Shortly after, senior Anya Sheldon finished in 36th place with a time of 21:42, followed one second later by eighth grader Helen Greenfield, who took 38th place.
Coach Larry Bell said, “ The girls ran a very gritty race. All seven helped push Holyoke Catholic back in the scoring so we could advance as a team. Even though some of us were not having our best day on a day we hoped to, they never quit, not one of them.”
With only a few days until the State Championships, which will take place on Saturday, November 21 on the same course as the Western Mass. race, the Mounties are focusing on recovery from the last race. Senior Anya Sheldon said, “At this point in the season, we can’t get much faster than we are now, so we are going to try to maintain our times for States. We will be resting up in practices instead of straining ourselves.”
Williams said, “ On Saturday, we need to run how we’ve been running all season. We’ve already raced the course at Stanley Park, so we’ll have that advantage. It will be a tough mental race, so we’ll need to pick girls off one by one and keep moving up to do our best.”
Bell said, “Up front, there will be as much talent as always. In recent years, I’ve seen that even at the state level many teams struggle to find a full team of athletes, so the depth can fall off after each team’s top few girls. I hope our depth will allow us to take advantage of that. Any of our 2-7 runners could be number two on a given day. We’ll keep our commitment to run hard for our team, and that might move us up from our seed position near the top ten teams.” Bell concluded, “States is not a reward for us. It is an opportunity.”