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Amherst edges Northampton on tiebreaker for PVIAC Cross Country boys championship

  • Frontier Regional senior Carsten Carey approaches the finish line at the 2018 PVIAC Championships on Sunday at Stanley Park in Westfield. He placed 10th. GAZETTE STAFF / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Runners take off from the starting line at the 2018 PVIAC Championships on Sunday at Stanley Park in Westfield. Amherst edged Northampton by a sixth-runner tiebreaker to claim the title for the first time since 2013. GAZETTE STAFF / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Frontier Regional senior Carsten Carey approaches the finish line at the 2018 PVIAC Championships on Sunday at Stanley Park in Westfield. He placed 10th. GAZETTE STAFF / KYLE GRABOWSKI



Staff writer
Thursday, November 01, 2018

WESTFIELD — The back end of Amherst Regional’s roster put the Hurricanes back on top of the PVIAC Cross Country Championships.

The Hurricanes scored 71 points with five runners at Stanley Park on Sunday, the same as Northampton. Cross country meets are scored by adding up the placing of a team’s top five runners, and the lowest total wins. When teams tie, the tiebreaker goes to the team’s sixth runner. Whoever’s No. 6 places higher wins.

Northampton’s Jonathan Lischetti was 53rd. Noah Johansson finished 35th, delivering the title to Amherst for the first time since 2013.

“The efforts were excellent up and down the line. Third through seven, who we’ve had to rely on a lot this year, pulled it out of their hats for the last couple of miles,” Amherst coach Chris Gould said.

West Springfield’s Gabriel Medina won the individual race in 15 minutes, 49 seconds. Amherst’s Jack Yanko placed second in 15:54, and Northampton’s Benjamin Gordon Sniffen was right behind him in third with the same time.

“My whole goal this season is to tell myself I can compete with them and try to compete on their level,” Gordon Sniffen said. “Seeing that five-second gap (behind Medina) makes me motivated.”

Yanko, the defending champion and course record holder, fell to fourth coming up the hill, but powered through the final stretch around the soccer fields and held off Gordon Sniffen at the line.

“It was something extra to motivate you when you know someone is right behind you and someone that you can see right in front of you,” Yanko said. “It helps you get to the line as fast as you can.”

Had Gordon Sniffen caught Yanko, the Blue Devils would have captured the team title.

“Watching them come out of the woods hitting the field, we were gonna see who had the most guts coming down to the finish line,” Northampton coach Brandon Palmer said. “It looked like everyone had just taken it to each other out there.”

Aidan Shea took fifth for the Hurricanes (16:24), edging Tobias L’esperance of Northampton by three seconds.

Simon LaClair finished 12th for the Blue Devils (16:48). Willem Goff of Amherst placed 13th (16:49) followed by Northampton’s Eben Savenson in 18th (16:58).

Amherst locked up 24th with Bryan Dole (17:18) and 27th with Walter Tebbetts (17:23).

Benjamin Howe placed 32nd for Northampton (17:29), which sent the team result to the tiebreaker.

“We had three losses on the year, and with each of those three losses we learned something different,” Palmer said. “Today we had a couple of goals just trying to get our top five in there real quick. We probably should have expanded that to the top six guys.”

The teams will tango again at the Western Massachusetts Championships on Nov. 10 at Northfield Mountain.

“It’s just a dress rehearsal for two weeks from now, and everything changes with a new course,” Gould said.

South Hadley finished fifth led by Bradyn Cote in 16th (16:52). Carsten Carey placed 10th (16:39), as Frontier Regional placed sixth.

Chris Vayda led Hampshire to an eighth-place finish (240 points) by finishing seventh individually (16:27).

Belchertown was 10th led by Evan Dunigan in 22nd (17:11).

Hopkins was 19th, and Johnathon Hanscom led the way in 55th (18:00). Andrew Hutchinson finished 42nd for Granby (17:38), which was 20th.

David Vasilchenko led Gateway in 131st (19:50).