Boys XC Wolfpack Outruns Deerfield, Looks Strong With Two Races to Run

In a final warm-up meet before the two final challenges of the season, the Andover Boy Cross-Country team dominated a strong team from Deerfield at both the varsity and JV levels. Andover’s wolfpack claimed victory 23-37, and JV followed suit scoring the first five places to win 15-40. Coach Stableford warned the eight varsity runners toeing the line that Deerfield’s best, Nick Blixt, would begin the race fast. By the first mile mark, Blixt could not seen by any of the other runners and continued to lengthen his lead through the finish of the race. Andover’s Chris Donais ’05 and Deerfield’s second runner entered the sanctuary just ahead of the pack of Captain Jon Hillman ’05, Ben Bramhall ’07, Seán Hamilton ’06, and Justin Lee ’06. Hamilton led the group up the hill to the log cabin, and after a short downhill, he caught Donais and Deerfield’s second harrier. Behind this separating front group Hillman, Bramhall and Lee steadily distanced themselves from Deerfield’s third runner as they charged towards the second mile mark. Hamilton led Deerfield’s second harrier by 20 meters with Donais in close pursuit. Lee, Hillman, Donais, and Bramhall tried to run down the strong runner from Deerfield on Heartbreak Hill, but he managed to keep most of his lead in tact. Will Riordan ’05 and Geoff Miller ’05 ran with Deerfield’s third runner through the sanctuary. Riordan passed his opponent exiting the sanctuary and quickly gained a significant lead. Entering the lawn, Hamilton possessed a lead of 20 meters, with Andover’s surging pack less than 30 meters behind the struggling harrier from Deerfield. Hamilton managed to maintain his lead over third place and crossed the line at 17:04. Hillman and Lee jostled for position with the opposing runner around the final turns. Lee, however, finally won the sprint for the line, crossing third overall in 17:11. After the finish of the Deerfield runner, Andover crossed Hillman and Donais in quick succession. Bramhall crossed next, with a time of 17:36, with Riordan just behind him. Miller dueled out his own battle on the lawn with Deerfield’s third harrier. In a spirited kick for the line, the Deerfield runner got the best of Miller, crossing just a few strides behind. By the end of the day, Andover came away with a convincing victory. The times were understandably slow given the conditions, however, the Andover pack partially accomplished its goal by placing six runners well ahead of Deerfield’s third and two in front of its second. At the JV level, Andover saw even more dominance, as Nate Thomas ’08, Dave Heighington ’06, Nick Bowen ’06, Greg Hsu ’06, and Alex Hugon ’07 placed first through fifth, completely outrunning the Deerfield squad. Tomorrow the Big Blue travels to Exeter. Captain Hillman said of tomorrow’s race, “This is one of two races that we’ve been preparing for all season, and, while a win at Exeter doesn’t guarantee a win at Interschols, this is the perfect chance to show Exeter and the rest of the league that we’re a November team.”