Captain Sean Hamilton ’06 sprinted through the finish line to a first place finish in the Andover Boys Cross-Country Development Invitational last Saturday in an outstanding time of 16:39. In the first official race of the season, the entire team’s roster participated, competing against Exeter, Loomis Chaffee, Worcester Academy and Northfield Mount Herman. Despite the overall focus on a fun developmental race, the competition was fierce, and athletes finished the home course in record times. Many Andover runners were plagued by various injuries and sicknesses, and although this factored into the end results, the team showed steady improvement from training hard over the past week. The race began with a quick start off the line; Captain Hamilton positioned himself at the front of the pack, along with Kentaro Watari ’07, Dave Wilson ’09 and Ben Bramhall ’07. After the first mile, the pack entered the Sanctuary to climb the long Log Cabin hill, where runners spread out significantly. Hamilton looked strong going into his third mile, dashing up the infamous Heartbreak Hill and leading the race onto the last stretch of the Great Lawn. Though the Andover runners ran excellent races on their home course, Exeter athletes put on an impressive show. After Captain Hamilton, three Exeter runners finished before Andover’s second runner, Watari. Watari finished in fifth place with a time of 17:06. Dave Wilson ’09 followed two other Exeter runners and one lone Loomis runner into the finish line with a personal record time of 17:30 and a ninth place finish. Not far behind, Bramhall ran an 11th place finish at 17:34, rounding out Andover’s runners in the top fifteen. Running fifth for Andover, with a time of 17:48, Addison Godine ’07 finished strong in sixteenth place after a handful of Exeter runners. In 24th place, Nate Thomas ’08 ran a personal best of 18:26. Trailing Thomas was Dave Heighington ’06 in 27th place, running the course in 18:30. The race was not officially scored, as it was meant to be a fun no-pressure competition. If it had been scored, Exeter would have beaten Andover by twenty points. However, Andover looks to overcome Exeter’s tough competition as the season progresses. Said Captain Hamilton of the tough competition, “Now we know what we have to do to beat [Exeter] and we will continue to train hard with that goal in mind. With additional racing experience for some of the newer runners, recovery from injuries and sickness, and some more training, we should be back on par with Exeter and ready to compete in November.” The second boys race was a larger one, consisting of Andover’s second seven and all other team members. On the last sprint of the third mile, Greg Hsu ’05 finished in first with a time of 18:20. Andover had a strong pack trailing Hsu, with Elias Howe ’09, Hanson Causbie ’08, and Nick Bowen ’05 finishing consecutively in fifth, sixth and seventh place with times of 18:51, 18:56, and 19:02, respectively.