Mount Greylock's Polumbo Highly Motivated on Senior Day

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- After five years in the Mount Greylock girls cross country program, Emma Polumbo knew all about long roads.
 
But she faced a different kind of challenge in June, when a car accident sent her to the hospital with injuries that ultimately would require two surgeries and a lot of physical therapy.
 
On Wednesday, Polumbo returned to competition on Senior Day, as the Mounties hosted Lenox, Monument Mountain, Pittsfield and Taconic.
 
“It’s been a long road filled with lots of doctor’s appointments and missed practices, which kind of makes me feel like I’m on the outs with the team sometimes,” Polumbo said after the Mounties earned dual meet wins over the Spartans and Generals. “But when I’m at practice, I try to make the times count with the girls, go on the roads with them, suck it up a little bit.
 
“We have a lot of talent on the team this year, and I’m just really proud of all the girls and how they’re doing.”
 
On Wednesday, Jacqueline Wells led four Mounties in the top 10 against a highly competitive field. Wells finished in 16 minutes, 52 seconds to edge Lenox’s Ellen Huth (17:05) and Monument’s Grace Phair (17:21) and Jasmin Johannsdottir.
 
Lenox’s Ava Bachman, Marion Huth and Tate Morrison were fifth, seventh and ninth, respectively. Mounties Katherine Swann, Lilliana Wells and MacKenzie Sheehy were sixth, eighth and 10th.
 
In the boys race, Taconic picked up a pair of wins over Pittsfield and Lenox with Jacob Paris finishing fourth in 15:03.
 
The Mount Greylock boys won both their dual meets, against Monument Mountain and Pittsfield, behind the 1-2 finishes of Jesse Seid (14:31) and senior Sam Culver. Pittsfield’s Amin Purry (14:41) placed third, just two seconds behind Culver.
 
“It was kind of Jesse and Jake [Paris] for a bit, and then me and Amin kind of worked our way up from the second pack and caught up with Jake,” Culver said. “I think we were slowly moving on Jesse, but he had too big of a lead. I think Jake dropped off. I think he went out with Jesse and kind of fell off a little bit.”
 
Wednesday marked Mount Greylock’s second home meet on a course reconfigured due to the renovation/addition project under way on the campus.
 
Culver said he liked the new layout.
 
“This one is a lot slower because ... it has a lot of turns, which means a lot of decelerating to go around the corners,” he said. “So we're all slow. But I really like it.
 
“I like the immediate finish after you come out of the second loop because it's all downhill and it makes for a really fast finish.”
 
Also finishing fast on Wednesday were Culver’s Mount Greylock teammates Owen Brandriss, Josh Cheung and Jacob Fink in fifth, seventh and ninth, respectively.
 
Lenox’s top finisher was Ted Yee (15:35) in eighth place. Peter LaRochelle (15:46) led Monument Mountain by finishing 10th.
 
On the girls side, Pittsifield was led by Diehl Cameron (18:43) in 12th. Mary Hayes (18:45) was 13th for Taconic.
 
Polumbo cracked the top 50 in the 113-runner field. Not the kind of place she may have envisioned for her senior season, but quite an accomplishment for a runner whose doctors just cleared her do some light jogging in mid August and dealt with a second jaw surgery just a couple of weeks ago.
 
“I did think I was done,” Polumbo said of her state of mind before she found out about the additional surgery. “I thought it was just a straight road ahead where I could come back training full speed. It was just a little setback.”
 
But she was determined to get back in shape for her team’s final home meet.
 
“I've been on this team since seventh grade,” she said. “This was the team that I first started on. These girls have been my family since then. I felt it was really important to come back Senior Night and have one final home race with these girls, to end senior year the best way.”
 
Boys Team Scores: Lenox 25, Monument Mountain 30; Mount Greylock 15, Monument Mountain 45; Mount Greylock 20, Pittsfield 39; Taconic 27, Pittsfield 30; Taconic 22, Lenox 37.
 
Girls Team Scores: Lenox 23, Monument Mountain 37; Mount Greylock 23, Monument Mountain 38; Mount Greylock 15, Pittsfield 48; Pittsfield 25, Taconic 30.
 
Timing and scoring provided by Berkshire Running Center.