Crossing the finish line with a time of 18:29, Post-Graduate (PG) Samantha Valentine ’17 shattered the previous course record by 18 seconds, earning a first place finish for Andover Girls Cross Country. Andover finished the sixth annual North- field Mount Hermon (NMH) Invitational on Saturday with a total score of 24 points, ahead of Loomis Chaffee, NMH, and Kimball Union Academy.
The course record at the NMH Invitational was previously held by Andover’s own Anoush Shehadeh ’15, who ran the course in 18:47.
In an email to The Phillipian, Valentine wrote, “It was surprising for me to break the re- cord by 18 seconds. During the race, I wasn’t even aware there was a course record I could potentially break.”
Alongside Valentine, Andover’s six other varsity runners all finished in the top 11 places. Michaela Jones ’18 also contrib- uted to Andover’s win, coming in second place with a time of 19:32.
Newcomer Alisa Crueger-Cain ’20, who finished in sixth place with a time of 21:47, wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “Michaela and Samantha are runners I have looked up to since the start of this season. They set a high bar for the team to strive for and work up to. Having really strong runners on
the team is so important [to me] because they inspire me to work harder, do one more repeat for our track workouts, or finish stronger.”
Isabella Morzano ’18 crossed the tape with a time of 21:58 to place seventh. Just one second behind, Grace Rademacher ’18 finished with a time of 21:59 to claim eighth place. Additionally, Eva Chilson ’18 crossed the fin- ish line with a time of 22:07, and Jess Wang ’18 finished in 22:23.
Crueger-Cain said, “The team has developed by being together a lot which allows us to become stronger together as well as in- dividually. Running together in a big pack of girls who all love to run is so much fun and really motivating.”
Chilson said, “So far, I think we are off to a great start as a team. It’s really incredible to see how much everyone is already improving this early in the sea- son. Everyone on the team is so encouraging and supportive. Cross country this year really feels like a family.”
Andover hopes to add another victory to its record in its next race against Choate this Satur- day.
Crueger-Cain wrote, “If we are able to be the strong team [that] we have been for the past weeks, we will be able to pull each other forward and have a terrific finish.”