Girls Cross-Country Races Without Top Two Runners Against Exeter, Results in Narrow Loss to Exeter Despite Faulkner’s Strong Race

This past Saturday, the Andover Girls Varsity Cross Country team faced its most intimidating and challenging competition of the season so far, Phillips Exeter Academy. After a disappointing loss last year, Andover was prepared to regain its title as champions on the home course. Unfortunately, with its two top runners sidelined from the Varsity race, Andover came up short with a close score of 24-31. Captain Katie Faulkner ’06 finished first for Andover, placing third overall with a strong time of 19:27. Brianna Jordan ’09 finished fifth, crossing the line at 19:39, just two seconds behind the fourth place Exeter runner. Jennifer Downing ’08 followed in sixth, finishing with a time of 19:58. Berol Dewdney ’09 placed seventh with a time of 20:11, and Sarah Cohan ’08 rounded out the top ten. Sara Ho ’08 placed 12th with a time of 20:53, and Katherine Adams ’06 finished in 13th with a time of 21:34. The power of the Exeter team was centered on its unwavering confidence and unification. Jordan commented, “I think we were all intimidated because the Exeter runners came in with their faces painted and red ribbons in their hair. The team had a real presence on the field.” Andover’s strategy during the race was to trail the Exeter runners, catching their draft, until the finish, where the team planned to overtake the opposition. Dewdney and Cohan began the race strong, as they led on the starting lap of Great Lawn, but the Exeter athletes passed them in the Sanctuary. The Exeter girls were particularly skilled at the downhills in the Sanctuary, as that was where they extended their leads over the Andover runners. The Andover JV team, on the other hand, was victorious, annihilating Exeter 19-47. Eleven of the sixteen girls who participated in the race captured personal bests. Stephanie Moroney ’09 led the pack, crossing the line at 20:57. Andover runners occupied the third through seventh places. Anne Elder ’09 placed third with a time of 21:09, and Chris Sargent ’06 finished fourth with a time of 21:33. Kit Harris ’07 followed one second behind in fifth place, with Katie Morris ’07 in sixth with a time of 21:43 and Becca Waldo ’07 in seventh with a time of 21:51. The emphasis this meet was not on times, but instead on racing Exeter. Coach Lang did not allow the Andover athletes to run with watches, for their pacing was to be regulated according to the Exeter runners’ paces. For the seniors, this was their last home race. Captain Faulkner said, “I was really excited to get my best time on our home course in my last home race. It was a really weird feeling to be running up heartbreak hill knowing that it would be my last time ever racing up it.” Unfortunately, three Andover athletes participating in the JV race required medical attention during the race and were unable to complete the course. Furthermore, two of Andover’s fastest runners, Abigail Levene ’09 and Erika Roddy ’07, were sidelined from the race with injuries. Both athletes will, however, participate in this weekend’s Interschols. Although the loss was diasappointing, the team is hopeful about its prospects in the future. Ho commented, “We knew that Exeter would be our toughest competition. Even though we lost this meet, we still have a chance to come out on top at Interschols.”