Hoosac Boys, Greylock Girls Sweep Meets
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Hoosac Valley High School senior David Bailot launched the shot put 38 feet, 5 inches to blow away
the competition then retrieved the metal orb and gave it a little kiss.
He might just as well have kissed his feet.
"In the beginning of the year, I was doing OK, but we went down to the track and got into the circle, and I was losing my footwork," Bailot said. "I wasn't sure where my feet were supposed to go. I've just been working on that in practice, and then I utilized it in a meet.
"I didn't think footwork could affect my throws as much as it does. Now I'm starting to realize that."
Bailot's feet helped Hoosac's boys defeat Mount Greylock and Drury by comfortable margins in a three-way meet at Drury High School.
The Hurricanes got three individual titles from Zach O'Neill and finished first in all the jumps and throws to outpoint the Mounties by a margin of 100-41, the Blue Devils by 111-30 and stay perfect on the season at 3-0. Mount Greylock's boys topped Drury, 78-54, to win their first dual of the spring.
In the girls competition, Mount Greylock opened its dual meet schedule with a pair of wins over Drury (73.5-67.5) and Hoosac (105-35). Drury defeated Hoosac, 113-28.
Bailot said a more relaxed approach on Friday helped him post his personal record in the shot and hit the Division 2 qualifying mark for next month's Western Massachusetts championships.
His first throw of the day went 36-4 and would have been good enough to win the competition, but Bailot progressed on each try, capping the day with the PR.
"This week, I've been really working on my form, but I've also been thinking too much," said Bailot, who puts the shot with his left hand and throws the discus with his right. "My throws haven't been as good as I wanted them to be in practice.
"So yesterday, my coach told me to limit myself to maybe four or five throws and just get in the right mindset for today. Today, I came in with an open mind, trying not to think too much before I threw. I was thinking, 'Just throw, and it's going to work out.'
"The first one was a pretty good start for me. Usually, that's where I've been ending, around 36-4, 36-5. And then, after I hit that 38 (on throw two), I was feeling pretty good about myself."
A four-year thrower for the 'Canes, Bailot is one of Hoosac's veterans, but the team's dominant performance on Friday got a big boost from some of the new blood that has infused Hoosac's program this spring.
"It's really nice to see some of the new kids -- new to track, not new athletes," Hoosac coach Ron Namislo said. "One of them comes running over all excited and happy: Zach (O'Neill) scored four firsts. That's awesome.
"I'm hoping that excitement helps bring more next year because these new kids are really talking it up at school."
O'Neill is one of several football standouts who made the transition to track this spring. On Friday, he won the triple jump (37-3.5) and high jump (5-5) and ran to victory in the 200-meter dash (25.3 seconds) and ran a leg on Hoosac's victorious 4-by-100 relay (47.3).
Mount Greylock's boys got wins from Carter Stripp in the 800 meters (2:10.3) and William Kirby in the 2-mile run (10:46.3) along with a 4-by-400 relay win. Alex Bulger recorded Drury's lone first-place finish, in the 110 hurdles (18.6).
While Bailot and the Hoosac boys were dominating the field events, Mount Greylock's girls flexed their muscles in the distance events. The Mounties won the 4-by-800 relay (11:10.5) and got individual wins by Emily Kaegi in the 1600 meters (5:43.3) and Kat Chenail in the 3200 (13:06).
Chenail ran away with her event, finishing more than 45 seconds ahead of the field. But after medical issues slowed her down to start the season, the Colby College-bound harrier is running a litte behind her own expectations.
"It's been kind of hard this season," Chenail said. "Running by yourself is hard, and you're not getting the times that you're expecting to get because you're out there by yourself.
"I got my wisdom teeth out at the beginning of the season, so I missed the first two weeks of practice. I'm two weeks behind everybody else, which is frustrating. I'm just hoping to work my way up to Western Mass."
Chenail is looking forward to the opportunity to face some of the county's tougher distance runners as the dual meet season progresses.
The Mountie girls, like the boys, opened their dual season on Friday.
The girls continued a county winning streak that goes back more than six years, but it was not easy. Drury got individual wins on the track from Alyssa Marceau in the 100 hurdles (18:30), Cori Ghidotti in the 400 (1:07) and Celene Koperek in the 800 (2:47.2). In the field, the Blue Devils got victories from Shannon Garvey in the shot (27-2) and Allison Tassone in the triple jump (29-9).
Drury also racked up a number of the second- and third-place finishes that in the past might have gone Greylock's way.
"We're not as deep as we've been in years past," Mount Greylock girls coach Brian Gill said. "Drury, for all intents and purposes, pushed us pretty good. ... We've still got to find out what kids can compete in other events to fill our field out. We're going to need to start picking up those seconds and thirds against other teams that we didn't pick up today."
With easily the largest contingent of athletes at Friday's meet, the perennially tough Mount Greylock program looked like a good bet to find the depth it needs to stay competitive.
"We're not as deep as we've been, and that's life," Gill said. "We graduated a lot of good kids, and you go seven years undefeated, that's going to happen.
"I think we have kids who can step up. That's the fun of it. Those kids who are on the cusp really have to find themselves. ... But it was the first meet out. We can see where we are. Really, it's a starting point."