Fast is good, but the more important thing for track and field athletes at the Central/Western Massachusetts Division II meet is where they finish.
Not many runners know that better than Mount Greylock's Alex Majetich. The senior standout ran the 100-meter dash in 12.67 seconds last week at the Division II meet. It was good enough for first place -- no other runner broke the 13-second mark -- but slow by Majetich's standards. Her fastest FAT (fully automatic time) was 12.4, equivalent to a 12.2 hand time. She also ran a 12.2 hand time earlier in the season, setting the Greylock school record.
"I'm not running for time, I'm running for place," Majetich said. "I know at these meets, I'm going to have to do trials and then finals. I might have to jump six times, as well. ... There is a lot to worry about and keep you busy. You can't run yourself into the ground."
Majetich will be joined by 13 female athletes from North County that qualified for the meet. It will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday at Westfield State University. Nine North County boys will also attend the meet as individuals. The top four finishers in each event earn a trip to the state meet June 1.
Hoosac Valley's Tyler Mach (100) and Greylock's Carter Stripp (800) are both seeded third in the respective races and the highest boys' seeds for North County.
Majetich is the highest seed, earning the top spot in the 100. She is seeded second in the 200 and fourth in the triple jump. Greylock coach Brian Gill was unsure what events she will participate in, and that decision won't be made until Saturday morning.
"The whole mindset is to get to states, it's just a matter of how we play it to get there," Gill said. "She's talented enough to get there and perform in any event, it's just a matter of how we play it to get her there in her best ones."
Hoosac Valley's Meg Rodowicz, Mount Greylock's Emily Kaegi and Drury's Cori Ghidotti will participate in the 800. Rodowicz enters as the No. 4 seed, Kaegi is the No. 8 and Ghidotti is the No. 16. Rodowicz won the event at last week's divisional meet; she also owns the county's fastest time in the event and the Hurricanes' school record.
"I'm hoping, definitely not expecting it, but hoping to get in the top four at Western[/Central] Mass.," Rodowicz said last week. "That's a goal of mine. And I'll have to keep working to get myself there."
Kaegi is the No. 5 seed entering the mile and Drury's Celene Koperek is the No. 22 seed. Kat Chenail is seeded 16th in the 2 mile.
Greylock's Jenna Phelps is the No. 8 seed in the 100 hurdles, although she is battling injuries and it is unclear what events she will run. Drury's Alyssa Marceau is the No. 13 seed in the event. Greylock eighth-grader Sydney Gurek is the 21 seed and Hoosac seventh-grader Kayla Garabedian is the 22nd seed.
Phelps is the No. 7 seed in the 400 hurdles, an event in which she finished fourth in the state last season. Teammate Sophia Dastoli is the No. 17 seed.
Drury senior Ali Tatro -- a first-year track and field athlete -- is the No. 8 seed in the javelin.
Tatro will also be a member of the No. 4 seeded 4x800 relay team. Morgan Lamarre, Ghidotti and Koperek make up the other members of that team.
Drury's Shannon Garvey is the only North County participant in the shot put. She's seeded No. 22.
Drury coach Jim Buffoni is pleased with the way his athletes are entering the meet. He said nearly every member of the team that participated in last week's divisional meet had a personal best on the day.
Both Hoosac and Greylock will also have a 4x800 team. Kalyn Alibozek, Cara Cote, Alyssa Bush and Rodowicz make up Hoosac's team. Stephanie Adamczyk, Chenail, Kaegi and Dastoli make up Greylock's team.
On the boys' side, Hoosac's Travis Ciempa is the No. 4 seed in the mile. Grelyock's Stripp is the No. 13 seed in the event. Tommy Kirby is the No. 14 seed in the 2 mile.
Hoosac's Trevor Ciempa is the No. 12 seed in the high jump. Dante Sandifer is the No. 23 seed in the long jump and No. 20 in the triple. Teammate Zach O'Neill is the No. 23 seed in the triple.
Hoosac's Steve Coons has the No. 17 slot in the discus and 26 in the shot. David Bailot is the No. 30 seed in the shot.
Greylock's Will Kirby, Archer Greenhalgh, Stripp and Sam Kobrin make up Greylock's 4x800 team that is seeded No. 4. Travis Ciempa, Trevor Ciempa, Austin Poulton and Mitch Graves make up Hoosac's 4x800 team that is the No. 7.
Greylock's Mark Messina, Ryan Benoit, Nick Dastoli and Taylor Carlough make up Greylock's 4x100 team that is No. 10. Dastoli, Greenhalgh, Benoit and Richie Astle make up the No. 11 seed 4x400 relay.
Hoosac's O'Neill, Ian Hill, Mach and Coby Tarjick are the No. 4 seed in the 4x100 relay.
"We talked [Thursday] at practice about doing what we normally do and not trying to do anything special," Hoosac boys' coach Ron Namislo said. "When you try and do a little extra that's when it backfires. These meets with 40 to 50 schools at them can be intimidating, but you just have to do what you do. They've seen the seed times, they know they can compete."
To reach Sam Monroe, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter: @NAT_DigitalSam