As the first Girls Cross Country Post-Graduate (PG) in many years, Samantha Valentine ’17 has made a name for herself at Andover by placing first in every race this season thus far. Valentine also broke the course record at Northfield Mount Hermon (NMH), finishing the race in 18 minutes and 29 seconds, 18 seconds ahead of the previous record. Hailing from Middleton, Wis., Valentine has competitively run cross-country and track since sixth grade.
Valentine’s passion for the sport, along with her years of experience, has made an indisputable impact on the team.
Head Coach Rebecca Hession said, “It’s obviously great to have someone come to the team with a lot of running experience and a lot of racing experience. All levels of runners come to the team and it’s a mixture of girls who are just trying to figure out what this running and racing thing is all about and those who come knowing that running is a big part of their life and that passion can help spread to other girls on the team. It’s that balance of both levels of experience that creates something that’s pretty special and unique.”
Valentine’s presence since the beginning of the season has also influenced her teammates. Captain Morgan Rooney ’17 said, “Samantha has made a huge impact on the team not only in her performance, but in her experience as a runner and her positive attitude and amazing light that she brings to practice each day. She is one of the most talented runners I have ever seen and I am so blessed to be able to run and train with her every day.”
“Samantha has been such an awesome addition to the team this year, we are so lucky to have her. She’s an incredibly strong runner, while also a really encouraging and nice teammate. She’s been racing really strong and consistently so far, and I can’t wait to see what she accomplishes by the end of the season. I think her running ability is also really inspiring to a lot of girls on the team,” added Eva Chilson ’18.
Valentine’s four first-place finishes, along with her positive attitude and passion, have earned her title of The Phillipian’s Athlete of the Week.
What made you want to PG here at
What made you want to PG here at Andover?
I came to Andover as a PG to further develop as a runner and a person.
How has being on the cross country team eased your transition into Andover?
Being on the cross country team has helped a lot with my transition to Andover; it’s an immediate community I know I can count on.
How do you train at home and here at Andover? Are there differences between your training at home and at Andover?
At home I’m usually running on my own, whereas here I have Michaela [Jones ’18] to train with, which has been great.
Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions?
Sometimes I have kale before a race.
How did it feel to break the course record at NMH?
I was pleasantly surprised to break the course record at NMH; I just raced as well as I could for that day.
What inspires you to run? Who are your inspirations?
As far as inspiration, I feel like running is a beautiful thing. It’s such a natural act, and I appreciate that about it. It’s never really a chore to run; I’m compelled to run by something within me I can’t quite pinpoint.
What do you credit your success as a runner to? How do you define success?
I’d say being successful as a runner has a lot to do with patience, so I think success can be defined as the way one responds to a setback of any kind, be it the pain in the middle of a race, or a major injury, or anything in between. It’s impossible to control what happens to us, but we can control how we respond to it.
What has been the highlight of your time at Andover – both as an athlete and in general?
The highlight of my time at Andover has been getting to know everyone on the team and also getting to know other people at Andover as well.