Sprinting to the lead of a four-woman pack, Mary MacQueen ’21 showed off an impressive final acceleration to defeat three collegiate runners this past Saturday at the 49th annual Codfish Bowl in Franklin Park, Boston. Her time of 19:40 minutes earned her a third place finish. Teammate Michaela Jones ’18 finished second in 19:24 minutes. Andover Girls Cross Country placed fifth out of 14 teams, including 11 colleges.
Captain Grace Rademacher ’18 said, “I was very excited about this race. I think we performed well as a team. We came in ten points ahead of Exeter, and four points behind one of the colleges in this race. Fifth overall, which was very exciting. It was really hot, I think a lot of girls came through and laid it all out there.”
The Codfish Bowl is always an early-season meet for the team, and the main focus is to learn the rhythm of racing and understand the strategies involved with it, according to Head Coach Rebecca Hession.
Hession said, “We always treat early-season races as just experience on the course. There really aren’t any sort of specific goals in terms of performances or team results, or anything like that. We’re still in the early stages of figuring out how deep our team is really is.”
The times of Andover’s third through seventh runners included Jess Wang ’18 in 21:06 minutes to finish fortieth, Brooke Sanders ’19 in 22:08 minutes to finish seventy-first, Posie Millett ’20 in 22:11 minutes to finish seventy-second, and Eva Chilson ’18 in 22:12 minutes to finish seventy-third.
The experience of competing against collegiate runners also left an impact on the team, according to Celeste Traub ’18.
“It’s different in terms of pace, as well as the energy people bring. Just to be able look up to people who are more mature runners and have more experience is cool,” said Traub.
Rademacher said, “The problem with giant invitationals is that everybody rockets out of the gate, and goes really fast for the first mile and then crashes, and I think our team did a really good job. I think all the girls strategized well. I didn’t really see anybody fading in the last two miles of the race.”
Strong pack running, which is a strategy where several runners from the same team will run close together in order to encourage one another, as well as block wind gusts for teammates, was crucial in Andover’s success on Saturday, according to Rhea Chandran ’19.
Chandran said, “Having a good pack is really the foundation of a good cross-country race because having someone lead a pack really pushes girls to do their best [and keeps everyone from] feeling like [they]’re alone in the race.”
Andover will run this Saturday at the Northfield Mount Hermon Invitational.