Head Coach Rebecca Hession has guided Andover Girls Cross Country to several successful seasons since she began coaching at Andover ten years ago. Most notably, Hession coached back-to-back New England Championship (Nepsta Division 1) teams in the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
Running has always been an important part of Hession’s life. She began her running career in middle school, competing in both track and cross-country. She continued to run throughout high school, and still finds joy in running in her free time.
In an email to The Phillipian, Hession said, “I love running for lots of reasons, including the fact that it helps me develop a sense of place.”
After her competitive running career came to an end, Hession began coaching for Andover in 2006. Six years ago, she took over the role of Head Coach, replacing former Head Coach Nancy Lang.
With her several years of experience as a coach at Andover, Hession possesses a high level of knowledge of the sport and knows how to prepare her team for each and every race. She also credits her assistant coaches for helping shape each practice week to hone the skills of the team’s runners.
Hession said, “The thing I like most about coaching is the opportunity to help build community.”
“Coaches Hyland, Meyer, Torabi, myself, and all the runners share a passion for creating a positive and supportive team environment,” continued Hession.
In an email to The Phillipian, Michaela Jones ’18 wrote, “Coach Hession is a very caring person who works hard to make everyone on the cross-country team, big as it is, feel welcome and important.”
Hession’s passion for the sport motivates her team to practice with consistency and enthusiasm.
“She also has an incredibly positive outlook which is very inspiring. It makes you want to work hard at practice, and get better,” added Jones.
Hession connects with her runners through her dedication to the team. She brings her energetic attitude on runs with the team and constantly checks in on the runners physical and mental well-being.
Alisa Crueger-Cain ’20 said, “Coach Hession is one of the most optimistic and high-energy coaches I have ever had. She always brightens my day, leaving me feeling strong and happy after runs. She helps improve the team by giving us her positive energy, which brings the team closer together. Coaches like Coach Hession are the reason why I love to run.”
As a Post-Graduate, and a new member of the team, Samantha Valentine ’17 has already benefited from Hession’s knowledge and experience for the sport.
Valentine said, “I love that Coach Hession is so supportive and welcoming of everyone on the team. She’s also very purposeful about making sure each of us gets the most out of each workout by paying attention to each of our needs. She improves the team by being so positive and delightful every day.”
Hession values the sense of family that the tight-knit group has created with each other during practice runs.
“As a team, we love spending time at Holt Hill and other trails around Andover. Running with friends in a special place is what I hope each girl seeks after her time on this team,” said Hession.
The positive energy that Hession brings is evident in the success of the team thus far in the season. The team finished fourth at the Codfish Bowl, first at the Northfield Mount Hermon Invitational, and won its first two dual-team races by a comfortable margin.
Hession has guided Andover to back-to-back Nepsta titles in the past two years and looks to lead her team to its third consecutive championship honor.