In a three-way race this past Saturday, Andover Girls Cross Country added yet another win to its 3-0 record with a 20-41 victory over St Paul’s and a 25-31 victory over Thayer Academy. Michaela Jones ’18 led the field and was closely followed by teammates Marina Hunt ’17 and Grace Rademacher ’18.
Due to the absence of several injured teammates and usual front-runner Carmen Bango ’16, the rest of the team had to step up to ensure success this week.
Jones said, “[Bango] was away, so that definitely affected me. She is a great running partner and usually pushes me in races.”
The St. Paul’s course posed both advantages and disadvantages. While it contained fewer uphill slopes than most of the other courses Andover has raced on this season, the course’s slick terrain challenged runners, who needed to make sure they were getting secure footing.
Rademacher said, “The course at St Paul’s is flatter than a lot of the ones we have raced at, and that was a really nice break. The challenging part about the course was the terrain, because your shoes slip a lot and there are also a lot of sharp turns.”
Jones added, “It was pretty flat, but there were some extremely steep downhills that I felt like I was going to fall on.”
In preparation for the race, the team practiced 1K workouts in small packs to focus on accelerating during the final stretch of the course.
“This week we worked on finishing speed in practice and a lot of 1K repeats. This helped us make advances in the middle of the race and gap people when they were getting tired on the course,” said Rademacher.
Whitney Garden ’17 added, “It was nice to run in smaller groups during these workouts so we could help each other get through the workouts at a strong pace and keep each other motivated through the whole practice. The repeats helped us especially for the end of the race – like during the last half mile when we need to pick up the pace even when we were really tired. The practice gave me a lot of confidence for Saturday, as I still felt strong at the end of the workout.”
The team looks forward to racing against Northfield Mount Hermon at home for Family Weekend.
“For the next race, I think everyone’s really excited about running at home again. The crowds at [Family] Weekend will put everyone in a good mood, and it will be nice to have the whole team running together again. It will be our last home race of the season, so I think everyone will definitely give it their all, which is really the only thing you can ask for,” said Garden.