With an impressive second place finish at the 2014 New England Prep School Division I Cross Country Championships (Interschols) and a 4-1 record in 2014 under its belt, Andover Boys Cross Country is eager to repeat its success in the 2015 season. Led by Captain Ralph Skinner ’16, the team is filled with fresh new faces who are ready to carry on Andover’s legacy.
Andover’s 2014 Interschols team was comprised of five Seniors who will be missed as the team prepares for the upcoming season. Previously Tom Burnett ’15, Arthur Doran ’15, John Gorton ’15, Paul McGovern ’15 and Captain Ethan McIntosh ’15 were Andover’s top runners. As a result, there are many holes in the roster that need filling. The team, however, is undaunted by these key losses.
Skinner said, “The team will miss the leadership and talent of last year’s Seniors, but our current Seniors and other veteran runners are up to the task of continuing the success of the program by working hard and helping to develop younger runners.”
Tevis Vitale ’16 added, “I don’t think that much adaption [to the loss of the Seniors] will have to occur this year. Our runners will go out and compete just as hard as they would’ve last year. While we may not be winning all of our races, we’re all going to improve, and the same mentality we held last year will continue as far as the level of dedication and effort is concerned.”
Andover will welcome numerous new young runners this year, leading to a relatively fresh and unseasoned team. Post-Graduate (PG) Pat Dolan ’15 will bolster the Senior influence on the team and help guide the younger members, bringing a wealth of experience and leadership skills with him.
Skinner said, “The Class of 2019 is really promising. There is a lot of depth and potential Varsity athletes for this year and years to come. Since we are losing a lot of Seniors, the gates are open for new runners to become the faces of the program.”
As far as expectations for the season go, the team is still unsure of how it will perform on race day. Nonetheless, hopes are high for another successful postseason.
Head Coach Patrick Rielly said, “We’re hoping to continue our success in league competition and at Interschols. I’m confident that [Skinner] will set the tone for the rest of the team in terms of preparation and competitiveness, and I’m sure that, as always, new and returning runners will emerge as great contributors to our program.”
“Both we and Phillips Exeter, the top two teams from last year, lost many Seniors, so the Interschols title is up for grabs. With a consistent and determined team, I think we can compete with the very best that the league has to offer,” said Skinner.
Dolan said, “It’s a little bit cliché, but I think the team goal is just to win everything we can and do really well at Interschols. Beyond simply winning, we want to always compete and fight no matter the odds.”
Andover will kick off its season this Saturday at the Northfield Mount Hermon Invitational event.