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Sophia Jacobs-Townsley sets course record, as Amherst dominates PVIAC cross country girls championship

  • Amherst Regional senior Sophia Jacobs-Townsley won her third straight PVIAC title Sunday at Stanley Park in Westfield. She set a meet record after chasing it for two years. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • South Hadley’s Jocelyne Rondea placed 19th at the 2018 PVIAC Championships on Sunday at Stanley Park in Westfield. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Northampton’s Mary Yount was fourth at the 2018 PVIAC Championships on Sunday at Stanley Park in Westfield. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Amherst Regional senior Sophia Jacobs-Townsely won her third straight PVIAC title Sunday at Stanley Park in Westfield. She set a meet record after chasing it for two years. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Amherst Regional’s Julia Hopley placed seventh at the 2018 PVIAC Championships on Sunday at Stanley Park in Westfield. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Amherst Regional’s Isabela Shepard was sixth at the 2018 PVIAC Championships on Sunday at Stanley Park in Westfield. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKII

  • The start of the girls race at the 2018 PVIAC Championships on Sunday at Stanley Park in Westfield. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI



Staff writer
Thursday, November 01, 2018

WESTFIELD — Even as often as she’s run the cross country course at Stanley Park, Amherst Regional senior Sophia Jacobs-Townsley still veered off course slightly Sunday.

“I made a mistake partially in the loop, so that wasn’t great,” she said. “I went left instead of right at one point. I probably shouldn’t still be doing that.”

Jacobs-Townsley took a wrong turn her freshman year that cost her the race. As a senior, she crossed the line first in 18 minutes, 2 seconds, good for first place, her third straight title and a meet record. The old record was 18:07 by Frontier Regional’s Natalie Mako in 2012.

“I’ve been chasing it for the past two years,” Jacobs-Townsley said. “It’s kind of sad thinking about that’s the last time I’ll ever race that course, but it’s kind of like a full circle thing to see my growth on that course from freshman to senior years and see how I’ve developed as an athlete.”

Her race was just the start of a dominant day for the Hurricanes. Amherst placed all five scoring runners in the top 10 and ran away with the team title at 32 points. Northampton finished second with 63. It was Amherst’s second straight team championship.

“It’s a really unique team,” Amherst senior Julia Hopley said. “I think everybody is individually motivated, but we come together really well to get those team goals we really want.”

Isabela Shepard was sixth for the Hurricanes in 19:13, and Hopley followed her in seventh (19:24). The pair both sprint during the track season, but Hopley convinced Shepard to run cross country this fall.

“Neither of us are cut out for this 5K,” Hopley said. “We think about our sprinter roots in the kick.”

Erin Clotfelter finished eighth (19:35), and Zada Forde rounded out Amherst’s scoring in 10th (19:56).

“We’re pretty tight,” Shepard said. “We’re always together so it’s nice to see everyone thrive.”

Mary Yount led the way for the Blue Devils in fourth (18:59).

“Not super good. I just felt tired and not fresh even though I was fresh,” Yount said. “Something was wrong.”

Rosie Ingmann was ninth (19:46) followed by Naomi Andrew in 12th (20:17), Saraphina Forman in 17th (20:45) and Nava Chevan in 21st (21:15).

“While everybody individually may not have had their best race, we came together for second, and that’s awesome,” Ingmann said. “We have a new team, we have a growing team, so we’re more focused on growing for future years because our team is very young.”

Amherst is aiming for a repeat at the Division 1 Western Massachusetts Championships on Nov. 10 at Northfield Mountain. The Hurricanes set a goal to win the state meet, but to do that they need to qualify, preferably with a sectional championship.

“From my freshman year to my senior year the team has gotten so much stronger,” Jacobs-Townsley said. “The strong traditions that have been with our team for decades carry through. It’s great to have that continuity.”

Jocelyne Rondeau placed 19th for South Hadley in 20:50.

Hampshire Regional placed seventh and was the first Division 2 team in the standings. Setota Touchette was 26th (21:32).

Angelina Egland finished 37th (21:53) and paced Frontier Regional to an 11th-place finish.

Belchertown was 19th, led by Abigal Gelinas in 99th (24:31). Danielle Hamel finished 103rd for Granby, which was 20th.

Mia Gozgit was 139th for Gateway (25:46).