Andover Boys Cross Country’s leading runner Basil Alfaro ’18 secured a fifth place overall finish on Saturday at the Northfield Mount Hermon (NMH) Invitational. With a 5K time of 17:32, Alfaro achieved a new personal record on the NMH course, surpassing his previous record by an impressive two minutes. As a team, Andover finished third out of six schools behind NMH and Loomis Chaffee in its first race of the season.
A defining factor of the race, the NMH terrain is known to be the most demanding and undulating course in the league, featuring a plethora of rigorous hills. Considering the difficulty of the course, Andover stepped up to the challenge and demonstrated its potential for success with its strong finish.
Post-Graduate (PG) Pat Dolan ’16 said, “The course was grueling; the hills were torturous. As a team, we promised ourselves that we would not be outcompeted and intimidated by the arduous slopes, and we did just that. We ran our hearts out, we gave it our all and we are proud of what we accomplished as a team.”
A prominent senior on the team, Noah Belser ’16 said, “NMH is a really difficult course, and the strong first showing that we saw can only point to bigger and better things for the rest of the season.”
Because Andover graduated the majority of its interscholastic runners last year, another challenge Andover faced was its relative inexperience on the course compared to its opponents, who showcased more Senior-heavy teams.
Alfaro said, “We have a young team with young talent and new faces. Compared to other teams, we have a lesser sum of Uppers and Seniors. Overall, the team did amazing and definitely showed up to the race ready to run. It’s difficult, of course, with nine seniors from the interscholastic team leaving. However, multiple people have stepped up to the challenge and answered the call of duty for our team.”
Belser added, “We’re a really young team this year, and that means we have a ton of potential. For [the new runners’] first time running varsity, it was a really impressive showing.”
On Saturday, Andover will compete in its first home meet of the season against Choate.