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The Wahconah boys lacrosse team celebrates its State Championship victory over Sandwich at Worcester State in June.

Wahconah Boys Lacrosse Made History in 2022

By Stephen Sports
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It was a year filled with the usual complement of team and individual glory, but one Berkshire County squad went where none of its peers have gone before: to the top of the heap in high school lacrosse.
That was enough of a milestone to give the Wahconah boys lax team the nod as the story of the year in Berkshire County athletics.
It was an accomplishment several years in the making as Wahconah worked its way through the post-season — a one-goal loss in the Central/Western Mass quarterfinals in 2019, a Central/Western Mass title in 2021, the next year the tournament was held.
But in the 10th year of the program's existence – just a decade after the county's public high schools started playing varsity lacrosse — the Wahconah boys became the first Berkshire County team to reach a state semi-final since 2014 and the first county team to win in the Final Four.
With a few days left before the calendar turns for someone else to shock the world and make some history, here are the top sports stories in the county in 2022:

1. Wahconah boys lacrosse

No one had a more dominant run through the regular season than Wahconah, which lost just once all year, to 2021 state semi-finalist and eventual D2 State Champion Longmeadow.
In its other 15 regular season games, Wahconah won by an average of 15 goals per game. It then went on to a Western Mass regional title with blowout wins over South Hadley and Pope Francis.
And it was not really pushed in the first three rounds of the Division 4 state tournament, either.
But things got a whole lot tougher from there: an overtime win over Cohasset in the state semi-finals and a come-from-behind 8-7 win over Sandwich in the State Championship game.
"It's so surreal," senior Caden Padelford said. "This season was our revenge tour. It's just amazing to see we finally got it. It's just a dream come true to win a state championship."

2. Pittsfield Babe Ruth 13-Year-Olds

One more win, and this team would have been a lock for our No. 1 story of the year.
But, then again, it also proved that finishing second is a heck of an accomplishment.
The Pittsfield Babe Ruth 13-Year-Old All-Stars romped through the New England Regional to earn a converted berth in the Babe Ruth World Series in mid-August.
But they were not satisfied to just make the trip.
Pittsfield started its national tourney with a one-run win over Pennsylvania and went on to win its pool and a semi-final to advance to the World Series title game against Kado, Hawaii, which took home the crown with a 5-1 win.
"When we first got to regionals and we were putting up 14, 15, 16 runs in pool play, it was pretty impressive — after combining states and regionals, we had over 100 runs, and I knew we had something big here," Pittsfield slugger Morris Fried said.
Pittsfield's Ed Ferris and Connor Paronto were named to the World Series All-Defensive Team, and Paronto was named All-Tournament after splitting pitching duties with Cam Hillard.
"We had high expectations, and we believe in all these guys to go out there and do well," manager Ben Stohr said. "I think our pitching and defense, as a team, was really special. We only got two of the [World Series] defensive awards, but someone like Jackson Almeida the last three or four games was calling pitches for us. We wanted to let pitchers not be waiting on me to call the signs and keep them in rhythm. But to have a 13-year-old back there calling excellent games, he's got a bright future ahead of him for sure."
The Babe Ruth 13s were the highlight of a typically successful summer for Pittsfield's youth baseball program, which also saw the 12-year-old Little League All-Stars advance to the state tournament, where they were eliminated in a one-loss to Wellesley, and lost a 3-1 game to Middleboro, which went on to represent New England at the Little League World Series in Williamsport.

3. Mount Greylock baseball

It is hard to end your high school baseball season on an 8-0 run.
It is a little easier when you can alternate Jack Cangelosi and Derek Paris on the mound.
The Mount Greylock baseball team allowed just five runs in eight post-season games, winning the Division 5 State Championship, 3-1, over Hopedale.
In the PVIAC Western Mass regional tourney that now serves as a tune-up for states, the Mounties posted three shutouts, including a perfect game from Paris and a no-hitter from Cangelosi in the regional final.
"I just think the chemistry on this team is spectacular," Mount Greylock senior Anthony Welch said. "We're really a unit. And, like I said, we all want to be with the team more than to do anything else. We set our sights on today. And we knew what we had to do to get here, and it was great to be able to do it with our friends."
Cangelosi and Paris combined to go 16-2 in the team's 22-4 season. Cangelosi won 10 games with a .61 ERA. Paris, a defensive stalwart with a strong arm behind the plate when he wasn't pitching, won six games with a .78 ERA.

4. Lenox boys cross country

Behind the 1-2 punch of Maxwell Adam and Dennis Love, the Lenox boys cross country team got past its county rivals and the rest of the commonwealth to hang a State Championship banner on the wall of the high school gym.
Adam finished fourth as an individual in the Division 3 final at Fort Devens, and Love was not far behind, picking up an individual medal by finishing 10th.
But the main objective was achieved when the Millionaires learned they combined for a 42-point win over state runner-up Mount Greylock.
"It's surreal," Adam said. "I can't really describe it.
"We've been working towards this for like six years. We've been at the bottom of the barrel back in eighth grade. And now, being on top, I can't describe it."
Lenox's top five finishers placed in the top 31 out of 183 runners in the D3 final. Its 82 points were the second lowest among boys teams at the state meet, edged only by the 81-point finish for D1 champ Brookline.
The Millionaires highlighted a big day in Division 3 for Berkshire County harriers. In addition to Mount Greylock's boys placing second in the state, the Mounties' girls were third, and Lenox's girls placed fifth.

5. Mount Greylock Nordic skiing

The year got underway with the first state championship in any sport decided out of state and coming back to Williamstown.
Quinn McDermott and Oliver Swabey led the way as the Mount Greylock boys cross country ski team defended its 2020 state championship (one of the few awarded during the winter season of the pandemic).
With individual state champ McDermott leading the way and Swabey placing third at Vermont's Prospect Mountain, the Mounties finished a solid 29 points ahead of runner-up Concord-Carlisle.
"We lost Foster Savitsky, and he's one of our top guys, but we were still feeling confident and good," McDermott said. "We knew if we raced well, just raced like we always do, we would do great."
It was a great day all the way around for Berkshire County's Nordic contingent, with the Wahconah boys placing third in the state and the Lenox, Mount Greylock and Wahconah girls finishing second, third and fourth respectively.
Third-place individual Mary Elliot and the Lenox girls finished just four points out of first place, narrowly missing in their quest to repeat as state champions.

6. Hoosac Valley girls basketball

Speaking of near misses, the Hoosac Valley girls basketball team, one of three county squads to settle for a co-State Championship in the COVID-shortened 2019-20 season, got back to the state title game in 2022.
This time, they actually got to play the game, but Hopedale got the win by 10 points at Lowell's Tsongas Center.
2022 marked the Hurricanes' seven appearance in the last eight state tournament finals (there was no state tourney in 2021) going back to 2014.
Senior Averie McGrath led the way, scoring more than 18 points per game, including 16 in the state final, for a team that finished 22-4.
Coach Holly McGovern said she hoped the example set by McGrath and classmate Rylynn Witek would continue the Hurricanes' legacy of success into future years.
"Overall, their leadership and what they have meant to this program over the course of the years has been so impactful," McGovern said. "I hope that our youngsters can look at it, understand what it takes to get to this level."

7. Mount Greylock volleyball

Winning the program's first Western Mass Championship was a big deal.
But the Mounties came up even bigger in the days that followed, winning four times in the Division 5 state tournament to get all the way to the State Championship match.
Perennial powerhouse Frontier proved a hill too high on title day, but no championship loss could dim the accomplishments of a team that went 20-3 and carried its fans on a wild ride to Worcester State University.
"We all love each other," Mount Greylock senior captain Lainey Gill said. "The team has great chemistry. And we knew we were going to come here and whatever we put on the court today was going to be enough for our team. And if that wasn't winning, then we'll still come together as a team and say, 'Wow, we're proud. We just had an awesome season.'
"We put it all there. We were proud of what we've done. And we came in second."

8. Five for Six on Championship Saturday

With the advent of the statewide tournament in the fall of 2021, there is no more Western Mass sectional, in the sense of a 413 affair that sends its champ to the state semi-finals.
But the eight-team Western Mass regional tournaments in most sports provide an important opportunity to burnish your state tourney credentials, gain post-season experience and, perhaps most importantly, win a trophy.
On Feb. 26, five Berkshire County basketball teams did just that.
At Westfield High, the Taconic boys and girls and Wahconah girls each won their respective regional tournament finals.
At the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, the Hoosac Valley boys and girls each captured a crown.
Only a loss by Drury's boys in the Class C final to eventual D5 state finalist Paulo Freire kept the county from going 6-0 in its Western Mass title games.

9. Drury football

The Blue Devils did not go the furthest in state tournament play of any Berkshire County team; that distinction goes to perennial powerhouse Wahconah.
But Drury's run to the Division 7 playoffs was a major step for the second-year cooperative that joined the Blue Devils with former North County rival Mount Greylock.
Together, the schools' athletes have gone 13-2 over the last two seasons, including an undefeated 6-0 regular season in 2022 that earned the Blue Devils the No. 15 seed in the state tournament.
A first-round loss to the defending state champs from Cohasset did not define the season for Drury or 1,000-yard rusher Louis Guillotte.
"It feels great, honestly," Guillotte said of the opportunity to play in the state tournament. "Drury, we don't have a great history of success in the playoffs. We got here, it had been a long time. We were really excited. But we fell short. … We fought. We fought hard."

10. Taconic bowling

After winning a county championship at Cove Lanes, the Taconic bowling team rolled into the state tournament, where Andrew Robitaille and Mya Duhamel each won a state championship in Chicopee.
This winter, both bowlers are back and have the Thunder off to a hot start through three weeks of the regular season.
And Duhamel and Robitaille will be among the favorites to repeat in March 2023 when the state championships are contested at their home away from home in Great Barrington.
Other highlights from the last 12 months included …
The Taconic, Mount Everett and Monument Mountain wrestling teams go 1-2-3 at the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Championships.
The Mount Everett girls soccer team claims the school's first Western Mass Championship in dramatic fashion as Chevelle Raifstager notches the game-winner in overtime.
Hoosac Valley's softball team wins Western Mass title over Turners Falls.
The Taconic baseball team beats Pittsfield at Wahconah Park to claim a Western Mass crown. But the Generals get their revenge against the Thunder in the state tournament.
Lenox repeats as champions of Western Massachusetts in golf.
The Mount Greylock boys soccer team reaches the state quarter-finals but is eliminated on penalty kicks.
The McCann Tech boys basketball team reaches the championship game of the State Vocational Tournament.

Tags: high school sports,   year in review,   

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Dalton American Rescue Plan Act Committee Makes Recommendations

By Sabrina DammsiBerkshires Staff
DALTON, Mass.—The Dalton American Rescue Plan Act Committee held its first meeting on Tuesday night to approve recommendations on where to allocate the remaining ARPA funding. 
The town received ARPA requests amounting to $489,362 for purposes ranging from equipment replacement, sidewalk repairs, studies, and green initiatives. 
The committee recommended that the Green Committee's requests for $60,000 to cover the cost of a "Climate Change Roadmap" and $7,500 for a climate fair be placed on the town warrant as a capital request. 
The Climate Change Roadmap is required for communities to achieve Climate Leader status, which creates more grant opportunities. It would outline the changes Dalton needed to make to meet Greenhouse Gas emission targets. 
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