This past Saturday, Andover Girls Cross Country demonstrated its impressive depth by clinching a second place team finish at the 36th annual Women’s 5K Codfish Bowl at Franklin Park, Boston. Finishing its first event of the season with a blistering average 5K time of 19:59.8, the team’s top 14 runners held their own against high schools and universities alike. Andover finished in second place in the team competition, behind Tufts University.
Among the strong teams Andover faced were Tufts, University of Massachusetts Boston, Merrimack College and the Greater Boston Track Club. The team also finished two teams ahead of Phillips Exeter Academy, the only other high school in the competition. Andover’s team chemistry ultimately allowed it to overcome its competition.
Olivia Brokaw ’18 said, “What has made our team so strong is our ability to run in packs, which is really important in cross country. The pack running that happened on Saturday was a reinforcement of how much depth our team has.”
Andover’s pack was very tight on Saturday, with Carmen Bango ’16 and Michaela Jones ’18 finishing within six seconds of each other. They earned second and third place individual finishes with times of 19:05 and 19:11, respectively. In addition to Bango and Jones, the rest of the Andover runners finished in clusters together, further emphasizing the importance of the team’s close-knit camaraderie.
Prior to the Codfish Bowl, the runners trained independently throughout the summer; each ran an average of 20-30 miles a week and maintained a rigorous strength-training schedule. Over the past few weeks at school, the runners have worked to build off of their summer foundation and to get into a strong rhythm for the season.
Brokaw said, “The team has been preparing by working on endurance, doing the same hill workout at Holt Hill three weeks in a row. Even though the workout was really challenging, it was rewarding to see the team grow increasingly stronger on that hill over the course of three weeks. The first couple weeks of practice have definitely set a fun but competitive tone for the rest of the season.”
Andover looks to continue its strong start to the season this Saturday at the NMH Invitational meet.