Boys XC Outruns NMH, Avenges St. Paul’s Loss

Even with star runner Justin Lee ’06 not racing to prevent further injury to his ankle, the Andover Boys Cross-Country team still soundly defeated NMH 20-36 at the varsity level, and 19-38 in the JV race Saturday. On Thursday, Coach Stableford set the team’s goal in the varsity race to score no more than 20 points, and the seven Andover harriers executed this plan to perfection, scoring five runners before NMH’s second. Andover knew that NMH had a strong frontrunner who would start the race fast. As predicted, the NMH runner took off hard, but the Andover pack began the race with a smart first mile, remaining in control and close enough to move up on the lone NMH leader later in the race. By the mile mark, five Andover runners had left NMH’s second behind as they began to close the gap to the leader. The pack of Captain Jon Hillman ’05, Ben Bramhall ’07, Idris Jatoi ’05, Seán Hamilton ’06, and Chris Donais ’05 worked well together through the rolling hills of the second mile and slowly made up ground on first place. Hillman and Jatoi slipped slightly from the pack in the third mile, leaving three to chase the leader. Hamilton led the charge through the treacherous terrain and caught the home team’s best with under a half mile to the finish line. Donais then took over responsibility for the chase as he pulled ahead of the leader as the finish line drew closer. In a spirited finish, Donais challenged NMH’s best for the victory, but was unable to take him and crossed the line in 17:15, just seven seconds behind NMH’s number one. Hamilton and Bramhall finished next at 17:21 and 17:32, respectively. Jatoi and Hillman crossed together in 17:48, rounding out Andover’s scoring five. After three NMH harriers finished, Andover’s Geoff Miller ’05 came in at 18:29. David Heighington ’06, running in his first varsity race, felt the quick turnaround between the warm up and the race and did not run as well as he would have liked to on the rolling hills. In the JV race, Andover saw more of the same success, as Blue harriers took the first three spots to secure the win. Jon Weigel ’05, continuing his inspiring climb from injury back to his regular varsity place, took first with a time of 18:47. Nate Thomas ’08 crossed next in 18:54, with a steadily improving Greg Hsu ’06 close on his heals. Andover’s dominance at the JV level with three key harriers nursing injuries speaks well for the depth of the team. Said Jatoi,