Monument Boys Secure Inside Track for County Crown

By Stephen Sports
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GREAT BARRINGTON — The Monument Mountain boys cross country team entered the season with no doubt it could compete for a county championship.
On Saturday, it left little doubt about where that title is going. 
Peter LaRochelle, Keegan Leach and Diego Salinetti finished 1-2-3 to lead the Spartans to a 20-35 win over Mount Greylock. 
Coupled with a season-opening tie that originally went in the books as a Mountie win but was changed by both coaches due to an officiating error, Monument Mountain is 3-0-1 with two weeks left in the season. 
It finishes with dates against Wahconah, which the Spartans beat, 23-33, in Dalton, and a young and winless Mount Everett squad. A win against either guarantees Monument Mountain at least a share of its second straight Berkshire County dual meet crown; a sweep, and the Spartans will stand alone. 
“We surprised ourselves, last year, actually,” LaRochelle said after pacing the field with a time of 16 minutes, 32.98 seconds. “We had some surprises on that team, and that really motivated us for this year. 
“This year, going in, we realized what we could do.”
Leach (16:58.22) and Salinetti joined LaRochelle atop the virtual podium. Myles Gennari and Andrew McCarthey rounded out the scoring after a tough week of training for the Spartans. 
“We had a little bit of a rough week as a team, to be honest,” LaRochelle said. “We had three injuries to me, Keegan and Isaiah [Bennett], who was fifth for us at Mount Greylock. 
“Isaiah didn’t run today. Keegan had some trouble on the course. I almost didn’t run.”
Mount Greylock’s top boy was Oliver Swabey, who placed fourth overall in 17:47.47. Charlie McWeeny, Ryan Keating, Corban Miller and Parker Winters all scored for the Mounties (2-1-1). 
On the girls side, Mount Greylock continued its dominance, running its record to 4-0 with a 16-46 win. 
Katherine Swann set the pace with a time of 19:23.17. 
“The first mile, I felt really good,” she said. “Everyone says the first mile they feel good, but, I don’t know, I just felt really great.”
And little better than she did when she ran the South County course last year as a sophomore. 
“Last year, it was a little interesting because I fell and then I lost my shoe,” Swann said. “But other than that, I remember liking this course. 
“It’s always really fun because it’s got woods. And it’s not super hilly, but it’s got some hills, and it’s got some flats. All around, it’s really fun to run on.”
Swann’s teammate Jacqueline Wells placed second in 20:26.98. Grace Malone, Erin Keating and Lily McDermott rounded out the scoring for the Mount Greylock girls with finishes of third, fourth and sixth, respectively. 
Monument Mountain’s Eliza Philip broke up Mount Greylock’s bud for a perfect score, placing fifth in 22:12.02. 
With a previously scheduled county championship meet at Mount Greylock on Nov. 14 up in the air, Saturday could have marked the final time the Spartans and Mounties will battle against one another this fall. 
The lack of a Western Massachusetts tournament — not to mention the absence of traditional county rivals like Lenox — does make it a different kind of season for the harriers. But Swann said the Mounties are just happy to be wearing their school colors in competition. 
“We’re just really appreciative that we can do this,” she said. “We just all want to get better. Even if the team competition isn’t exactly the same, it’s in our own team. There are a lot of people really close to each other, and we just want to do the best we can.”
Monument Mountain’s LaRochelle agreed. 
“We could have complained and said, ‘We don’t have Western Mass. The season doesn’t matter,’ but we decided to make the most of it,” he said. “Obviously, it was a big deal to win the county last year, but this year, it’s all we’ve got.”
Boys scorers (with scoring positions):
Monument Mountain (20): 1. Peter LaRochelle (16:32.98); 2. Keegan Leach (16:58.22); 3. Diego Salinetti (17:21.24); 6.Myles Gennari (18:36.50); 8. Andrew McCarthey (19:19.12).
Mount Greylock (35): 4. Oliver Swabey (17:47.47); 5. Charles McWeeny (18:36.04); 7. Ryan Keating (18:49.00); 9. Corban Miller (19:37.46); 10. Parker Winters (19:43.29).
Girls scorers:
Mount Greylock (16): 1. Katherine Swann (19:23.17); 2. Jacqueline Wells (20:26.98); 3. Grace Malone (20:52.42); 4. Erin Keating (21:52.68); 6. Lily McDermott (22:32.40).
Monument Mountain (46): 5. Eliza Philip (22:12.02) 8. Aria Grossman (23:18.72); 10. Zoe Holmes (23:39.61); 11. Anna Maria Romano (24:05.20); 12. Maddy Mullen (24:40.36). 
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