Lady Blue Lose Nailbiter; Dlesk Ends Season in Style

Despite a phenomenal performance by Captain Katie Dlesk ’03, the Girls Track team failed to overcome the Big Red. Going into the 4×400 relay with a tied score, it would be the first place finishers in the relay who would go home with the win. A gutsy performance by Dlesk could not fix the fact that Cassie Tognoni ’05 dropped the baton, disqualifying the entire relay. Tognoni started her day off by winning the high jump with a 4’8” jump. The long jumpers did not fare as well, but Rebecca Howe ’06 managed to score a third place finish. An exciting mile race started off the running events. Lissie Robie ’04 started off slowly, but took the lead halfway through the race. She crossed the finish line at an amazing 5:41, a good half lap ahead of the top two Exeter runners. Dlesk finished second in the 50-yard hurdles. Event record holder, Anne Riordan ’03, battling back from injury, took third place. Following the hurdles, Dlesk won the 50-yard dash with Jackie Latina ’04 taking a close second. Andover’s performance in the 300-yard dash had Exie fans shaking their heads in disbelief. In the first heat, the Exeter runner shoved Dlesk out of the way as she tried to pass the first time. But Dlesk powered along beside her, passing her with a half lap to go. She finished in 39.6 seconds, making her the first girl to ever go sub-40 on Exeter’s track. Courtney McBride ’03 and Latina then showed the maverick Exeter runner the Andover way by taking the second and third places respectively, another sweep for PA. After Robie captured another first place, the score was tied leading up to the deciding relay. No event could compare to the 4×400 relay. McBride took the first leg, running steps behind a powerful Exeter sprinter. She handed off to Tognoni, who quickly covered the gap. But as she tried to pass, she tripped, taken off guard by an abrupt movement by the Exeter runner. Tognoni got back up, having dropped the baton, and sprinted after her, but the space between was more than a quarter of a lap. Latina tried to make some of it up in the third leg, but the distance seemed to have only grown longer by the time Dlesk took the baton for the final leg. It was the first time this season that the relay team had not been far ahead of their opponent on the last leg, but Dlesk took it all in stride. She started to move on the Exeter runner immediately, and as the bell rang announcing the final lap, Dlesk passed her. She never looked back. Andover and Exeter fans alike were in awe of Dlesk’s feat. “It was incredible,” said Tognoni afterwards, “It’s amazing to have that much faith in a teammate. I had to get up. I knew that if I stayed in the race, Katie would make it up in the end. And she pulled through. She’s my hero.” The girls then celebrated what they thought to be a hard fought win. However, in a last ditch effort to salvage the victory, Exeter challenged and protested the relay, citing Tognoni’s fall as grounds for disqualification. At the time, Exeter was awarded the win, though the Andover team is appealing the referee’s call. The girls, however, know in their hearts that they earned the victory, regardless of Exeter’s protest.