Hampshire’s Nick Brisson wins 800 meters to pace locals at Western Mass. Division 2 Track & Field Championships (PHOTOS)

Frontier’s Aidan Valderrama competes in the high jump during the Western Mass. Division 2 Track & Field Championships on Friday at Mohawk Trail Regional in Buckland.

Frontier’s Aidan Valderrama competes in the high jump during the Western Mass. Division 2 Track & Field Championships on Friday at Mohawk Trail Regional in Buckland. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Frontier’s Aiden Dredge competes in the javelin during the Western Mass. Division 2 Track & Field Championships on Friday at Mohawk Trail Regional in Buckland.

Frontier’s Aiden Dredge competes in the javelin during the Western Mass. Division 2 Track & Field Championships on Friday at Mohawk Trail Regional in Buckland. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Frontier’s Leah Gump runs the 2-mile during the Western Mass. Division 2 Track & Field Championships on Friday at Mohawk Trail Regional in Buckland.

Frontier’s Leah Gump runs the 2-mile during the Western Mass. Division 2 Track & Field Championships on Friday at Mohawk Trail Regional in Buckland. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Hampshire Regional’s Kathleen Barry runs the 2-mile during the Western Mass. Division 2 Track & Field Championships on Friday at Mohawk Trail Regional in Buckland.

Hampshire Regional’s Kathleen Barry runs the 2-mile during the Western Mass. Division 2 Track & Field Championships on Friday at Mohawk Trail Regional in Buckland. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Hampshire Regional’s Jaiden Kudelka competes in the long jump during the Western Mass. Division 2 Track & Field Championships on Friday at Mohawk Trail Regional in Buckland.

Hampshire Regional’s Jaiden Kudelka competes in the long jump during the Western Mass. Division 2 Track & Field Championships on Friday at Mohawk Trail Regional in Buckland. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Hampshire Regional’s Tessa Burke competes in the pole vault during the Western Mass. Division 2 Track & Field Championships on Friday at Mohawk Trail Regional in Buckland.

Hampshire Regional’s Tessa Burke competes in the pole vault during the Western Mass. Division 2 Track & Field Championships on Friday at Mohawk Trail Regional in Buckland. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Belchertown’s Kami Wlodyka runs the 2-mile during the Western Mass. Division 2 Track & Field Championships on Friday at Mohawk Trail Regional in Buckland.

Belchertown’s Kami Wlodyka runs the 2-mile during the Western Mass. Division 2 Track & Field Championships on Friday at Mohawk Trail Regional in Buckland. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

South Hadley’s Abigail Gelinas competes in the triple jump during the Western Mass. Division 2 Track & Field Championships on Friday at Mohawk Trail Regional in Buckland.

South Hadley’s Abigail Gelinas competes in the triple jump during the Western Mass. Division 2 Track & Field Championships on Friday at Mohawk Trail Regional in Buckland. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Belchertown’s Alexa Karabetsos competes in the triple jump during the Western Mass. Division 2 Track & Field Championships on Friday at Mohawk Trail Regional in Buckland.

Belchertown’s Alexa Karabetsos competes in the triple jump during the Western Mass. Division 2 Track & Field Championships on Friday at Mohawk Trail Regional in Buckland. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

South Hadley’s Maggie Crawford competes in the 400-meter hurdles during the Western Mass. Division 2 Track & Field Championships on Friday at Mohawk Trail Regional in Buckland.

South Hadley’s Maggie Crawford competes in the 400-meter hurdles during the Western Mass. Division 2 Track & Field Championships on Friday at Mohawk Trail Regional in Buckland. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Hampshire Regional’s Oscar Schiff runs the 2-mile during the Western Mass. Division 2 Track & Field Championships on Friday at Mohawk Trail Regional in Buckland.

Hampshire Regional’s Oscar Schiff runs the 2-mile during the Western Mass. Division 2 Track & Field Championships on Friday at Mohawk Trail Regional in Buckland. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

By CONNOR PIGNATELLO

Staff Writer

Published: 05-17-2024 10:08 PM

BUCKLAND – Nick Brisson stumbled to the infield grass, laid on his back and did a snow angel.

After 750 meters stuck in the pack, Brisson had just completed a comeback in the final stretch of the 800 to win a Western Mass. Division 2 Track & Field Championship title.

He quickly leaped up and gave a big hug to his Hampshire teammate Tim Cahill. 

“I’m so happy, I’m so happy, I’m so happy,” Brisson said as he embraced his teammate.

Frontier’s Charles Dennis jumped out to a big lead over the first lap of the race and Brisson was boxed in, along with most of the field. 

The field began to reshuffle and the speed started to pick up on the start of the second lap, and Brisson followed Monument Mountain’s Everett Pacheco to the front. Brisson and Pacheco caught Dennis with less than 100 meters remaining, and Brisson beat Pacheco by 0.53 seconds to take the victory on Friday.

“[With] 200 left, I felt pretty good so I was like ‘I think I got this,’” Brisson said. “I just sat on him until 100 left and then I just kicked him and hoped that I had it.”

After Brisson and Pacheco, Frontier swept the rest of the top five. Evan Hedlund took third (2:05.26), Dennis took fourth (2:05.55) and Aidan Valderrama took fifth (2:05.58).

Frontier boys come back to take 4x800 crown

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In the final stretch, Hedlund outkicked Brisson to give Frontier the 4x800-meter relay win after Brisson had edged Hedlund and Dennis in the 800. 

Luke Howard ran a strong opening leg and passed the baton to Dennis.

“We had all ran before, so we weren’t really worried about our individual splits, it’s just trying to keep the lead,” Dennis said. “Luke gave me a great start and I was just trying to make sure that Mount Greylock guy didn’t take the lead.” 

Dennis gave Gus Radner a good lead and Radner kept the advantage over Mount Greylock and Hampshire when he passed the baton to Hedlund. But with 300 meters to go, Brisson caught up to Hedlund and passed him.

 “I saw him get a little bit ahead and I just tried to keep up with him,” Hedlund said. “And with 200 to go I knew I had a better kick and so I thought I could edge him at the end.”

As Hedlund and Brisson hurtled towards the finish line, just half a stride separated them. Brisson couldn’t close that half-stride though, and Hedlund held on for the win.

Hampshire County athletes with top-five finishes

Orioles senior Kami Wlodyka came in second place in the first race of the day, the two mile. She hung with top finisher Alice Culver (Lenox) for most of it, but couldn’t keep up with her over the final laps. Wlodyka finished in 12:12.82, 11 seconds ahead of the next-closest competitor. Teammate Cheri Willems took third place in the girls 800 (2:31.02). Cameron Ting placed second in the long jump (15-10.25) and the 100 hurdles (17.07). The Orioles boys 4x800 relay squad placed fifth (9:14.51).

Frontier’s Elsa Brown took second in the girls pole vault (8-0). Rylan Waskiewicz picked up a fifth-place finish in the girls 200 (27.60) and a fourth-place finish in the girls 100 (13.34). Addison Morrey placed fifth in the girls 800 (2:32.54). Nicole Plasse placed fourth in the girls 400 with a 1:01.77. Alex Schreiber placed fifth in the boys discus (119-02). Aiden Dredge placed third in the boys javelin (147-08). In the boys mile, Luke Howard placed fourth (4:43.87). The Frontier girls took second place in the 4x400 (4:25.66) and third place in the 4x800 relay (10:39.89) and the 4x100 relay (54.09). The boys 4x400 relay took third place (3:39.92) and the 4x100 relay took fourth place (45.51). Frontier placed second in the overall standings with 65.5 points – Mount Greylock blew past everyone else in the field to win with 140 points. 

Hampshire seventh grader Gabriella Dybacki ran a 2:30.34 in the girls 800 to take second place. Sophomore Keegan Butler followed behind her in fourth place (2:32.21). Sophomore Oscar Schiff ran a 10:25.76 in the boys two mile to take fourth place. Jaiden Kudelka placed fifth in the boys long jump (19-11) and third in the 100 (11.42). Aimee George nabbed fifth place in the girls javelin (99-3). In the girls shot put, Kat Simmons took second (29-07.75). Tessa Burke finished tied for second in the girls pole vault (8-0). Augustus Niswonger placed fifth in the boys pole vault (9-0). 

South Hadley notched a pair of top-five finishers in the 400 hurdles. Maggie Crawford placed fourth in the girls 400 hurdles at 1:13.22 and Jameson Webber finished fourth in the boys 400 hurdles at 1:00.19. In the girls triple jump, Abigail Gelinas finished fifth (31-08). She also scored a third-place spot in the girls 100 with a 13.31. Jameson Webber placed second in the boys 110 hurdles (16.26). Emma Levreault finished fourth in the shot put (28-07.75). In the girls javelin, freshman Aimee George placed fifth (99-3). In the final event of the night, the boys  4x400 relay, South Hadley took fourth place (3:40.65).

Easthampton’s Guiseppe De Nucce-Simms placed fourth in the boys shot put (39-3.5).