Girls Cross Country swept the field in this week’s race against Choate on Saturday, with a perfect score of 15-50 for both its Varsity and Junior Varsity teams. The team had 30 season-best performances led by top runners Carmen Bango ’16 and Michaela Jones ’18.
Both Bango and Jones broke 19 minutes, setting the stage for top seven finishers Marina Hunt ’17, Grace Rademacher ’18, Sharon Zhang ’16, Celeste Traub ’18, and Alana Gudinas ’16, all running exceptionally strong races. Gudinas had a particularly memorable race, finishing with an enormous move across the Great Lawn to clinch seventh and earn the team a clean sweep. Captain Peyton McGovern ’16 said, “It was [Gudinas’s] amazing Great Lawn kick that secured Varsity a perfect score!”
The Andover course differs from those of other schools because it has a difficult uphill start and finish. McGovern said, “We have the Great Lawn to start and finish, which can be especially difficult at the end of the race. To do well, you really have to maintain a steady pace at the beginning of the Great Lawn and really push it at the end on the final stretch.”
This strategy of focusing on the Great Lawn stretch of the course was the team’s main focus at practice. In preparation for its race on its home turf, the team ran several simulation pieces on the Great Lawn in the days leading up to the race.
Overall, Saturday’s race was particularly powerful because it showed the depth of the team. McGovern said, “It was the first time the whole team raced together. People were definitely inspired by each other to stay focused the whole race, which I believe contributed to the two perfect scores.”
Next Saturday, the team will look to beat out the competition when it heads to St Paul’s to race both St. Paul’s and Thayer.