Amherst, MA – In what was their first official team race since 2014, the Men of the Western Mass Distance Project successfully defended their home turf of Amherst, MA with a close win over Greater Boston Track Club at the 42nd Annual Five College Realtors Amherst 10-Mile.
In IDEAL conditions the race took off to the bang of the starting gun shot by course designer and race founder, Tom Derderian. The trio of Sean Duncan, Nicolai Naranjo, and Jason Ayr quickly found themselves bunched into the lead pack. An early surge by eventual race winner Will Sanders was ignored by the meat of the team competition as Red Jerseys and WMDP sized each other up. Through the Atkins Reservoir dirt road The Trio stretched out their lead on the GBTC pack lurking behind to provide what they thought would be a comfortable cushion in claiming the $500 team prize put up by Sugarloaf Athletic Club, the host team.
Naranjo would cross the line first for the Wolves with a 5th overall in 53:49, followed by teammates Ayr (6th – 54:00) and Duncan (7th – 54:08). The suspense began as GBTC bodies began to pour in – 9th, 10th, 11th… All GBTC. Where was our fouth guy?
In comes Lucky Number 13, Kevin Quadrozzi, in 56:08. Maybe he was driving the second train of WMDP runners? No.
15th, 16th, 17th, 20th… More GBTC! The team title slowly beginning to slip from our paws…
Then, grinding towards the final turn comes Eric Flaman.
“Come on, Flaman! We need a Big Bandit Kick out of you!” shouts Naranjo, fists slamming the grass in front of Wildwood Elementary School.
Flaman grabs ahold of his saddle and kicks it in, flopping forward at the line in 58:14 for 23rd place. Would that be enough to take it?
As the timers sort through the final scorers of the rival teams, GBTC and WMDP stood silent. Finally it would be the Hometown Wolfpack that took the day by a 5.1 second margin over the intruders from the East!
The Men are a little rusty, we’ll admit it, but we’re back and we’ve tasted sweet victory again! And our appetites are far from full.
Lady Wolves Snag the Podium
In the ladies competition Apryl Sabadosa led the charge for a WMDP bronze with her 2nd place overall in 1:02:07 on the hilly course. The Lady Wolves landed just in the money, behind the runners formerly known as New Balance Boston (now Battle Road TC) and Greater Boston Track Club.
Rounding out the scoring squad behind Sabadosa was Amy Rusieki (10th – 1:07:22) and Ruthie Ireland (25th – 1:11:48).
Both team performances offer great early season momentum as WMDP heads into the USATF-NE Grand Prix #1 – the An Ras Mor 5k in Cambridge, MA this coming Sunday.