Sprinting across the finish line, Carmen Bango ’16 claimed first-place overall at the annual Northfield Mount Hermon (NMH) Invitational on Saturday. Her 5K time of 19:19 was especially impressive given the difficulty of NMH’s course.
“I improved my time by 40 seconds or so, so I was very happy. It’s a challenging course, so any improvement is really good,” said Bango.
As a team, Andover demonstrated its remarkable depth by clinching a victory over the five competing teams. Overall, Andover’s focus on hills in practice was one factor that proved instrumental in its success.
“For the past month, we definitely have been working on hills, and NMH is a course where there are a lot of rolling hills. It is one of, if not the hardest course in our league. What really helped was doing hill repeats in practice,” said Olivia Brokaw ’18.
Grace Rademacher ’18 added, “The NMH course is very hilly, and at NMH you really have to focus on strategy. In practice, we worked on difference in speed so we could improve our kicks.”
Teamwork and comradery were also essential to Andover’s strong performance in the race.
Brokaw said, “I definitely think there was a lot of pack running on Saturday, which helped a lot, especially on a course that’s so mentally and physically draining.”
Bango said, “Because the course was so challenging and pack running is super important mentally, I think to just stay in the race you needed your teammates by your side to help push you on and urge you.”
The team’s encouragement of each other was especially important because it allowed their runners to stay determined and positive throughout the difficult course.
Marina Hunt ’17 said, “Everyone was super supportive and positive. It was a really long bus ride getting there, and it was kind of cold, but no one ever complained. Everyone was really good at motivating each other, even while we were running.”
Andover looks forward to its first home race against Choate on Saturday.