Andover Girls Cross Country swept first, second, and third place against Northfield Mount Hermon (NMH), going on to place 14 of its runners in the top 15 spots and defeating NMH with a score of 17-46 in a home meet on Saturday. The win demonstrated the team’s depth and experience despite warm conditions and a heavy training load during the week.
Andover has won all four of its meets this season and remains optimistic about its future potential as the New England Prep School Track Association (Nepsta) Cross Country Championships approach, according to runners on the team.
The race was won by Michaela Jones ’18 in a time of 19:05 minutes, followed by Molly MacQueen ’21, who finished in 19:41 minutes to place second. Alisa Crueger-Cain ’20 finished in 20:22 minutes to place third, Isabella Morzano ’18 finished in 20:58 minutes to place fifth, Jess Wang ’18 finished in 21:04 minutes to place sixth, Brooke Sanders ’19 finished in 21:23 minutes to place seventh, and Abby Ryan ’21, who rounded out Andover’s top seven runners with a time of 21:30 minutes to place eighth.
One factor of Andover’s success was smart pacing. For this meet in particular, Andover runners intentionally started the race slower than usual to account for the unseasonal heat, according to Wang and Coach Rachel Hyland.
Coach Hyland said, “We encouraged girls to run in packs and stay conservative, for the first mile in particular.”
Wang said, “All of us went into the race with a very calm mindset because we had done so many Great Lawn repeats that none of us went out too fast, and we were really able to focus on starting at a very steady pace, and then not losing any of that throughout the entire race.”
In preparation for the race, Andover had a heavy training week, including two workouts on Andover’s own course, according to Lauren Fanning ’19.
Fanning said, “On Thursday, we did a lot of Heartbreak Hill repeats, and that definitely helped physically as well as mentally going into this race, just knowing that it was just one Heartbreak Hill sprint, and that we just had to get up there, and mentally, as the coaches are saying, that you only have less than a mile left after Heartbreak Hill. Just being able to prepare on our own course before running it this Saturday was really helpful.”
Coming off of this win, Andover has begun to shift its focus from mid-season training to championship preparation, with only three weeks until the Nepsta Cross Country Championships, according to Wang.
Wang said, “This is the point of the season where a lot of our workouts are building intensity, and we’re getting ready for Interschols, so I think, in terms of just peaking — in terms of workout intensity — has been really key this week.”
Andover will travel to Deerfield for a dual meet on Sunday.