Eleven teams entered the Canterbury Invitational and, by the end of the day, it was clear to every one of those squads which was the best. The Andover Boys Cross Country team placed five runners in the top eleven, including Josh Wolfe ’04, who won the race in 16:51. The boys finished with a team score of 35, a full 32 points ahead of Deerfield Academy (low score wins). Loomis Chaffee took home the bronze trophy, as they tallied 85 to edge out Hopkins by a couple. The boys went into Canterbury knowing they would have a target on their backs. Andover had won the invitational in 2002 and taken a second place the year before. However, the boys were confident that they had both the speed and depth to win. “As a team,” Wolfe said, “we had to work it up to repeat last year’s victory.” As Coach Stableford ’63 wrote in his online summaries, “The race, we knew, would be up to the pack.” Stableford’s words proved right. Although Deerfield had two runners at fourth and fifth, Andover managed to plug in five before their third. Hopkins, another team Andover expected to challenge for the title, was never much of a threat, with only three runners in the top twenty. The race started off fast, but the Boys in Blue had solid opening positions. As returning champs, the squad had the honor of the first box on the starting line and arguably the best position. Wolfe quickly realized he would be able to run more or less uncontested, and took the race out hard from the start. He never looked back. The Canadian Sensation blasted through the very tough Canterbury course and finished 14 seconds ahead his closest competitor. In second place was 2001 Interscholastic Champ David Nightingale of Loomis, recovering from an injury riddled 2002 campaign. “I knew Nightingale would be there and that he’d be a potential threat,” Wolfe said. “Coach said to follow him but instead I took it out pretty hard and slowly increased the lead.” Co-captain Adam Kapor ’04, John Freker ’04 and Chris Donais ’05 made up the next wave of Andover runners. Running almost as a pack, the group pushed each other hard through the hills and woods of Canterbury. The bunch, hampered perhaps by starting too fast in their time trials the Saturday before, did not make the same mistake. They began under control and had plenty left over for the finish. Kapor, emerging as the team’s very solid second runner, finished sixth overall in a time of 17:46. Though Kapor was discouraged by finishing just behind two rival Deerfield runners, the team believes Kapor will certainly be able to run down those two and many others come Interschols. Donais and Freker followed their captain in the top ten, as the pair hit 18:10 and 18:13 for eighth and ninth place, respectively. Last year, running as the team’s seventh man, Donais finished twentieth in the race. “Chris’ steady improvement will really be important for us,” said teammate Wes Howe ’05. “Last year, he was just a lower running varsity races. Now, a year older and wiser, he can definitely hold his own.” Freker, meanwhile, appears to be back in form. After a fantastic lower year, Freker’s 2002 season was plagued by injury. “John is back on track,” said Jon Hillman ’05. “I don’t know where we’d be without him.” The second Andover pack, JJ Feigenbaum ’04, Justin Lee ’06 and John Weigel ’05, followed closely behind the front of the seven for the first mile. By the time the troop hit the woods, they were well positioned ahead of the packs from Deerfield, Loomis and Hopkins. As the team hit the tough hills in the second half of the course they could see the race laid out in front of them. Feigenbaum, suffering greatly in the race, instructed the two younger runners to get ahead and go run down “a few Pelicans.” Lee and Weigel took the advice to heart. Lee ran perhaps the best second half of the field, and moved from around twentieth place to eleventh. Weigel too picked his race up and finished in 16th. Feigenbaum, running far from a solid race, kicked in hard and made a disputed 26th place by the time it was over. “Maybe the most promising part of our performance at Canterbury was the consistency of our pack,” said Weigel. “As the sixth runner, I had our third, fourth, and fifth runners in my sight for the entire race. We can then all run together and push ourselves harder.” “We ran really well as a team,” Wolfe summed up. “For a season-opener I was very impressed that we came out on top.”
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