Lenox a Major Factor in a Busy Championship Weekend

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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Lenox, Lenox, Lenox, Lenox and … yes, Lenox.
Championship Weekend has a decidedly maroon and gold tinge for Berkshire County sports fans this weekend.
Saturday afternoon in Gardner, the Lenox boys and girls cross country teams are among the favorites -- and among five Berkshire County teams -- at the 2019 All-State Cross Country Championships.
On Sunday in Springfield, Lenox’s boys and girls soccer teams will vie for Western Massachusetts titles and berths in the state semi-finals. They’re two of three Berkshire County teams, along with the Mount Greylock boys, still standing among 12 Western Mass teams who made it to the final weekend of sectional play.
In between, in Holyoke, the Lee football plays for a Western Mass crown. The Wildcats, of course, host a cooperative team with, you guessed it: Lenox.
At Gardner Municipal Golf Course, Lenox’s boys and girls will hit the trail as the reigning Western Mass champions after their performances last week in Northfield.
The girls will be joined in the Division 2 field by Berkshire County rival Mount Greylock, which placed second to the Millionaires by just four points at the sectional meet.
Two runners from Monument Mountain -- Kiera O’Rourke and Eliza Philip -- qualified for the state meet in Division 2 as individuals.
Monument Mountain’s boys team qualified for the D2 boys state meet by placing third in the team standings last week at Northfield Mountain.
The Spartans trailed Lenox, which earned a decisive 43-point win; both Monument and Lenox placed three runners in the top 10, but Lenox also scored two times in the top 25, from Dennis Love and Harry Touloukian.
Hoosac Valley’s Justin Levesque, who placed 19th at the Western Mass meet, and Mount Greylock sophomore Parker Winters, who placed 20th, will run as individuals on Saturday.
The Berkshires placed several individuals in the D1 boys and girls races, but just one team has a shot at a state title on Saturday.
Pittsfield’s girls advanced to the Division 1 state meet after placing third last week at Western Mass.
The Generals will be joined on the course Saturday by Taconic’s Ahliya Phillips and Wahconah’s Haley Crosier and Olivia Gamberoni, who qualified as individuals.
The Division 1 boys race is the only one of four on Saturday without a county team, but it will have runners from three county schools. Taconic’s Jacob Paris, Pittsfield’s Emanuel Brown and Wahconah’s Hayden Kendall each qualified with their performances in Northfield.
While the Harriers are tackling the Gardner Municipal Golf Course, the Lee football team (6-3) will try to tackle Ware (8-1) in the Western Massachusetts Division 8 final.
Lee enters Saturday’s game with a five game winning streak, including a win in the semi-finals last week against previously unbeaten Hoosac Valley.
The Wildcats will be looking to avenge a 2017 sectional semi-final loss to Ware and get back to the state semi-finals -- one game away from Gillette Stadium -- for the first time since 2015.
The Mount Greylock boys soccer team, the gold standard in Berkshire County, is looking to get back to the state semi-finals for the first time since 2008, when the Mounties went on to win it all.
The storyline on Saturday at Springfield Central High School: Mount Greylock vs. Belchertown … again.
The Orioles have ended Mount Greylock’s Western Mass run seven times in the 10 years since that state championship run: 2009, 4-3, in the semis; 2010, 1-0, in the semis; 2011, 1-0 in the finals; 2012, 3-1, in the semis; 2013, 2-0, in the finals; 2014, 1-0 (penalty kicks), in the finals; 2017, 3-2, semis; and last year, 1-0, in the semis.
In that span, the Orioles picked up a state title of their own, in 2013.
After a jam-packed Saturday in three different venues, the action Sunday narrows to Central’s Berte Field, where Lenox’s boys will go for a Western Mas Division 4 “threepeat” and the girls will look to avenge last year’s 1-0 “loss” on penalty kicks to Granby in the sectional final.
The Lenox girls will be looking to get over the hump after falling in the sectional finals three of the last four years. The last Western Mass title for the Millionaires in girls soccer came in 2012.
Notably, the Lenox boys and girls both have advanced to the Western Mass final after finishing the regular season with .500 records.
Of course, those records were deceiving. Lenox’s boys were seeded second in an 11-team sectional, and the girls were seeded third among 11 teams in their D4 field because the Millionaires play so many Division 1 and Division 3 teams in the regular season.
“Last season, our record was a little better, we had a few more wins,” Lenox girls coach Kyle Zinchuk said. “But we play that schedule. We’re playing [Berkshire County] North teams. We’re playing a lot of D3 teams and the occasional D1 team. So we know our schedule was tough.
“We know that we’re not always going to have the prettiest looking record when we get to the post-season. But we know that we’re going to be battle tested and ready.”
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