Unwilling to give up their crown, the Blue Harriers squeezed out a victory by just two points to return from the Canterbury Invitational with the highest honors for the third year in a row. The boys arrived at the starting line confident in their training and in each other, but winning would not come easily. Hoping for the team to build strength for the more important races later in the season, Coach Stableford took a risk in crafting challenging workouts during the week of the race. A talented squad from New Jersey’s Blair Academy gave Andover a run for its money, as did several runners from Deerfield and Loomis Chaffe. But Andover’s pack held tight, and it moved through the field, claiming first place by a mere two points points. Chris Donais ’05 led the group off the starting line and into the narrow first mile. However, his fast pace early on and a hard week of training came back to hurt him, as he faded mid-race. Justin Lee ’06 moved late in the race up the hills and slid into sixth place with a time of 17:15, just behind the top two runners from Loomis Chaffe. Captain Jon Hillman ’05 and Ben Bramhall ’07 started the race conservatively, and they moved through tiring runners on the last uphill section. Hillman claimed the eighth spot and Bramhall scored ninth, just nine seconds behind Hillman in 17:33. Donais, despite feeling sluggish, managed to keep his form through the finish, earning 12th place overall. Sean Hamilton ’06 followed just 11 seconds behind Donais, but more importantly placed ahead of two Blair runners to seal the close win for Andover. Geoff Miller ’05 contributed to the scoring by displacing several Loomis Chaffe and Deerfield runners. Miller’s 20th place helped to raise the scores of Andover’s competitors, dragging out even more distance between the championship contenders. New Senior Idris Jatoi ’05, troubled by his fast start, struggled late in the race on the hills. However, he still managed 25th place overall, out-kicking a horde of Loomis Chaffe runners. The coaches saw the win at Canterbury as a solid step in the right direction towards an Interschols championship. Andover, however, will need to train hard through the season to compete with Exeter and Choate, both of which did not attend the invitational.