Boys Cross Country Dominates, Brings Home the Win

The Andover Boys Cross-Country took spots one through five against Choate to seal a 22-37 victory. Coach Stableford opted to place nine runners in the varsity heat, leaving the team slightly exposed at the JV level. But solid leadership from improving underclassmen and a promising race from Senior Jon Weigel ’05 in his return from injury managed to secure victory for the Big Blue. The varsity harriers toed the line mindful of Choate’s history of beginning races at a fast pace. Reacting to the predicted fast start, Wes Howe ’05 led the team up the first hill. However, Choate acted unexpectedly, and after rounding the first few corners, Andover held the first five spots, with three Choate runners not far behind. Hindered by their fast start, the Andover pack slipped slightly, allowing Choate’s major contenders to move back into the race by the first mile mark. Chris Donais ’05, coming off last week’s impressive time trial, ran with Choate’s finest up the short but steep Cardiac Hill, with Justin Lee ’06 and Captain Jon Hillman ’05 racing alongside Choate’s second harrier. Ben Bramhall ’07, Seán Hamilton ’06, and Idris Jatoi ’05 ran with another Choate runner, as they tried to catch the leading group. As the harriers began their second ascent of Cardiac Hill, Donais began to falter, slipping back into the pack. Lee and Captain Hillman chased the Choate leader through the final mile, but the Choate runner’s knowledge of the twists and turns of the Choate course was enough to maintain and slightly extend his lead by the finish line. Crossing just a second apart, Lee and Hillman finished with times of 16:04 and 16:05, respectively, on the 2.95-mile course. Bramhall, whose last mile surge allowed him to distance himself from Choate’s second, crossed the line next in 16:10. Following Choate’s second harrier, Andover crossed Hamilton in 16:25 and Donais, who managed to fend off Choate’s third runner, in 16:28. Jatoi showed more steady improvement finishing in 16:35, growing more accustomed to running on New England hills. Will Riordan ’05 managed to displace two Choate runners, and showed the coaches that he is nearing his peak form seen in previous years. The 22-37 score doesn’t speak for the tightening of Andover’s pack, as just 24 seconds separated the scoring five. Also, the steady progression of the pack as a whole should help Andover take on teams with greater depth in the weeks to come. At the JV level, Andover saw Nate Thomas ’08, Dave Heighington ’06, and Nick Bowen ’06, joined by a returning Weigel to lead the team to victory. Weigel began fast, racing as if he were in top form through the first two miles. However, his lack of training caught up to him in the final mile as he slowed nearing the finish. Andover’s depth shone through as Thomas and Bowen stepped in to take first and second places. Weigel managed to hold onto fourth place in the race, but his return from injury to such a high caliber of racing looks promising. Weigel can quickly get his body into top form and take his place amongst the varsity pack.