Andover Girls Cross Country travelled to Connecticut last Saturday for its first meet at the Choate Invitational. With a strong crew of Juniors as well as some returning runners, the team ran a smart race, according to Captain Grace Rademacher ’18.
Rademacher said, “I think we did really strongly as a team. We saw a lot of talented underclassmen, and I saw, personally, some really strong races from people who have been on the team for a bunch of years.”
Typically, the season begins during the first weekend of October, when runners have had more time to train, but because this race happened so early on in the season, it was a much less intense meet, according to returner Jessica Wang ’18.
“[Head Coach Rebecca Hession] told us that we shouldn’t think of it as a race, but more of a time trial, and it was an ‘exploration day,’ which is mainly to help us get used to the [Nepsta D1 Cross Country Championships] course and see how we fall early on in the season and just get a first look at the Interschols course, which was pretty much the main reason why we were there,” said Wang.
Coach Hession said, “It wasn’t about the competition, or the race, it was really more like a workout.”
One particular challenge that the team faced was the intense heat, according to Rademacher.
“What I told everyone is that, because it was so hot and the course was really hilly, [a good strategy] was to start out conservative and see if you can negative-split the race, because the ending half was mostly downhill,” said Rademacher. “I said… see what you can do in the finishing mile and see if you can pick off some girls,” said Rademacher.
Wang said, “I think we all went out really fast in the first mile because it was the first race, and there was all the adrenaline. I think, next time I race on that course, I’m going to try to be more steady with my pacing.”
In addition, the race allowed Andover to begin to build its team dynamic, according to Lindsay Rosenberg ’19.
“I look forward to getting closer to the girls and getting to know them better. Last season I didn’t really get to get to know them as well as I’d like to because I was injured, so I’m really excited about that,” said Rosenberg.
“I think a team environment is an important part of running cross country. I think that, if it weren’t for the relationships you are able to form with your teammates, it wouldn’t be even as close to as fun,” Rosenberg continued.
In accordance with the non-competitiveness of this race, both Hession and the race directors at Choate have requested that The Phillipian not publish times from Saturday’s race. The team will travel to Franklin Park in Boston, Mass. next Saturday to compete in the Codfish Bowl.