Davis caps career with eighth-place State finish

WESTFIELD — She battled through the tough conditions and relied on the work ethic that helped make her one of the top high school cross country runners in the region.

Mohawk Trail Regional High School’s Meghan Davis finished eighth Sunday, in the MIAA All-State meet. She completed the 3.1 mile course at snow-covered Stanley Park in 19:51.

Last season, Davis was 9th at states.

“Improved a little bit this time,’’ she said. “The conditions were pretty tough. Every spot was either slushy or muddy. I just went right through.’’

Davis, who finished second at last week’s Western Mass. meet, can bid adieu to her Mohawk career with pride. The snow and mud made it difficult for the runners to navigate.

“There’s no words that can sum up my career because I’ve been blessed with great coaches, teammates and a family that supports me,’’ Davis said. “I’m in love with all my teammates. I’m proud that we all made it here.’’

 Davis, who holds course records at Mohawk and Pope Francis, has always been up for a challenge. She has trained with the boys and endured the grueling hills around Buckland to become the Warriors’ leader and inspiration to her teammates.

“Meghan ran a very good last race,’’ Mohawk coach Joe Chadwick said. “I see how hard she works every day in practice. I told her it was going to be tough for everyone. She’s a good one.’’

Mohawk freshman Erica Szewczyk was 107th in 23:13, and junior Erika Looman was 113th in 23:22 as the Warriors placed 16th as a team with 377 points. Junior Carli Cusimano was 131st in 23:52, while eighth-grader Savannah Simmons was 149th in 24:45.

Greenfield eighth-grader Louisa Calame was 116th in 23:26.

Mohawk freshman Caitlin Upton was 159th in 25:12, and seventh grader Sierra Upton was 166th in 25:27.

The conditions could have been worse if not for the yeoman’s effort of meet director Tom Stewart. He spent between 10 and 15 hours preparing the course with his snowblower and used red spray paint to mark the roots in the woods portion of the course.

In boys Division 2, Frontier’s Carsten Carey was 33rd in 18:03.

“I should have worn spikes,’’ Carey said. “The conditions were legendary and everyone who ran this race will still remember it in their 40s and 50s. Every step was a battle.’’

Unlike last year, the Red Hawks did not shave their heads for the race.

“Too cold, so we abandoned that idea,’’ Carey said. “This is a great way to go out and we’ve really strung something together the past few years.’’

Frontier’s Alex Sharp was 74th in 18:39, as the Red Hawks finished 15th with 370 points, which made them the second of three teams from western Mass. Mt. Greylock, which won the WMass meet a week ago, took third. Frontier’s Peter Carey was 100th in 18:55.

Mohawk freshman Dennis Simmons cracked the top 100. He finished 98h in 18:52.

“Dennis has a great work ethic,’’ Chadwick said.  “He’s got a good head on his shoulders and he just needs to catch up to his body.’’

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