Heading into her fourth season of Andover Girls Cross Country, Captain Peyton McGovern ’16 looks to lead her team to continued success after the team won Interschols and went undefeated last fall.
A day student from Methuen, Mass., McGovern first began running for pleasure in sixth-grade on her middle school team. A few years later, she joined the Cross Country team as a Junior at Andover. McGovern said this decision changed her life because it gave her the opportunity to fully realize her potential as a runner.
“In eighth grade, they cut the middle school program for my town, so the high school coach said that I could run with them a few days a week. I raced a few times in a season but not much. When I got [to Andover], I really started getting into cross country,” said McGovern.
Since joining the team, McGovern has developed an enthusiasm and passion for running that has proved critical to her success.
“There is no other way to describe the feeling when you are done with a run or a race. It’s just amazing,” she said.
McGovern said that she hopes to step up to her responsibilities as Captain by providing support for her teammates. She aims to encourage, guide and console them – both on and off the course.
“I think one way in which I can lead the team to success is just putting myself out there and being open to support people no matter what they are going through at the time,” said McGovern. “Whether they’re struggling with running or something outside of running, I want them to know that I am there for them and willing to help them with whatever. Sometimes the things outside of running can affect the way you run.”
A seasoned runner, McGovern will be a role model for her younger teammates this fall.
“Peyton’s actions demonstrate her commitment to the team and the sport of running. She leads by example in her approach to workouts, races and team traditions,” said Head Coach Rebecca Hession. “She brings a great amount of experience and passion to her role as Captain and is a supportive teammate and accomplished racer.”
Throughout the season, McGovern will draw upon her prior experience on the team and looks to model the attentiveness and thoughtfulness of last year’s captain, Anoush Shehadeh ’15.
“My biggest influence has been my Captain from last year. Anoush was a person who went above and beyond her roles as Captain and really put herself out there to every aspect of her teammates’ lives,” said McGovern.
Shehadeh’s guidance has motivated McGovern to create her own style of leadership that her teammates have come to appreciate.
Grace Rademacher ’18 said, “[McGovern] is nothing but positive and supportive. She does a great job unifying such a large team of 55 girls and is one of the most approachable and wonderful people.”
While McGovern herself is still recovering from a back injury, she has high hopes for the team.
“My main goal right now is to return from injury and be healthy for an extended period of time. But in the meantime, I really want to see my team win Interschols.”