Monument Mountain Boys and Girls Win at Wahconah

By Stephen Sports
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DALTON, Mass. -- Monument Mountain's Keegan Leach could not quite catch up to the first wave in Saturday's cross country meet at Wahconah.
But he came close enough to put on quite a show and lead the Spartans to a 10-point win over host Wahconah, 23-33.
Leach finished in 17 minutes, 2.62 seconds, 2:45 faster than the nearest Wahconah runner in a performance that almost erased the three-minute stagger between the socially distanced packs of harriers that hit the trail in the second meet of the season.
Monument Mountain's girls won their dual meet by seven points, 26-33, behind a second-place showing by Eliza Philip (22:22.19).
Wahconah's Haley Crosier finished first with a time of 21:47.09.Tt
On the boys side, Leach led a trio of Monument Mountain runners at the top of a 28-runner field.
Peter Larochelle was seven seconds behind him in 17:09.09. Myles Gennari finished third in 19:27.86.
"I was happy with my race," Leach said. "I put some miles in over the summer, so I was really hoping to run a PR on a flat course, and I got it by 2 seconds, so I'm really happy with that."
The top Wahconah boy was Lucas Wildrick, who finished in 19:47.79.
Wildrick and Peyton Webb (19:50.72) crossed the finish line ahead of Leach, but not by much.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, cross country races look a little different this fall. Instead of all the varsity runners toeing the start line together, athletes go off in waves grouped by teams. On Saturday, that meant 10 Wahconah runners followed by 10 Monument runners, followed by 10 more from the home school.
The new format gave the front-running Leach a target to shoot for.
"I definitely thinks it helps to have someone to chase," he said. "Especially in the later half of the race, when you have someone ahead of you, you can say, 'OK, let me go get them,' and then you can try to chase them.
"But at the beginning, it's difficult. The starts feel very anti-climactic. You're at the start, you're nervous, and then: Boom, you're just racing with your teammates."
That said, Leach said a lot of the season feels like, well, a cross country season.
"I'm surprised by how normal the races, or the season has felt, aside from the mask protocols and the social distancing," he said. "I feel like practices are run fairly normally, and it gives you, in this craziness, almost a sense of normalcy.
"I really am enjoying the season so far."
The Spartans are home next Saturday against Mount Everett. Wahconah travels for its first road meet of the year at Mount Greylock.
Boys scorers (with scoring position):
Monument Mountain: 1. Keegan Leach (17:02.62); 2. Peter LaRochelle (17:09.09); 3. Myles Gennari (19:27.86); 6. Andrew McCarthey (19:1.99); 11. Isaiah Bennett (20:50.27).
Wahconah: 4. Lucas Wildrick (19:47.79); 5. Peyton Webb (19:50.72); 7. Aidan Garcia (20:24.63); 8. Riley Gladu (20:29.57); 9. Cooper Calvert (20:36.23).
Girls scorers (with scoring position):
Monument Mountain: 2. Eliza Philip (22:22.19); 3. Aria Grossman (23:43.96); 6. Ruby Citron (24:42.49); 7. Madeline Rocheleau (24:42.77); 8. Anna Marie Romano (25:04.00).
Wahconah: 1. Haley Crosier (21:47.09); 4. Quinn Walton (24:39.37); 5. Jocelyn Sommers (24:39.81); 11. Madeleine Rabuse (25:28.90); 12. Kaitlyn Olds (26:39.67).
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