Cycling has the Right Prospects; Girls Team Looks To Win League

Entering his fifth season as coach to Andover’s cycling team, Coach Thayer Zaeder is psyched for the upcoming season. He commented, “Last year was a rebuilding year, this is a stronger team.” Last season, Andover lost to Exeter both during Andover/Exeter and New England Championships. The thought of avenging these losses fuel PA’s drive to beat them this year. The girl’s team, which also finished second at last year’s New England Championships, is lead by 2005 Cyclocross National Champion and team captain Arielle Filiberti ’07. It too aspires to capture the New England title this year, as all of last year’s athletes have returned to the team. With the exception of Andover/Exeter weekend, there are no dual meets for the team this season; athletes from all different schools will attend the races. Andover’s best competition will be Exeter and Holderness. The size of Andover’s team is its biggest weakness. While many schools have as many as twenty-four riders, Andover’s only has twelve and sixteen riders. As of now, Andover is on the larger side with sixteen riders, welcoming two Juniors and two Lowers. Within the next week however, this number will dwindle as try-outs conclude. It is possible that with the addition of more coaches to the squad, the team’s size will increase. As of now however, Coach Zaeder, Coach Derek Williams, and Coach Henry Wilmer could not supervise more than sixteen riders on congested and dangerous roads. Three-year varsity member, Captain Filiberti ’07, serves her second year in a row as captain, and is the powerhouse rider for the team. She has the most experience in competition outside of Andover, and is currently training for the Junior Road Nationals, to take place this summer in Chicago. From there Filiberti hopes to qualify for the World Championships. Lilli Stein ’07 is another standout on the team. She placed third in a time trial against Exeter last year. Road-racing since age 12, she carried her talent directly over to Andover, first competing in her Junior year. Colin Touhey ’06 is the leading Senior on the boy’s team, taking over the positions of last year’s Andy St. Louis ’05 and Julian Dames ’05. Although this is only his second year racing at Andover, he was an experienced biker when he came to Andover. Senior Dave Heighington is also entering his second year of racing. A novice to the sport last year, Heighington competed in the C races, intended for the less experienced riders, but achieved times that rivaled those of the experienced riders in the A races. Michael Monaco ’06 completes the team. Andrew Clay ’08, William Hunckler ’08, and Walker Washburn ’08 are all up-in-coming riders on the team, coming off a successful season. Clay ’08 had two third place finishes in races last year. Currently during try-outs, the team is focusing mostly on acclimating the athletes to racing technique. After final cuts are made the team will enter its conditioning phase, which consists of alternating days of sprint workouts, distance workouts, and hill repeats. To train for Andover/Exeter and the New England Championships, the team will bike on average between 30 and 40 miles a day. Filiberti attributes much of the positive attitude on the team to the coaches, commenting, “They’re laid back and great about encouraging kids to ride.” With many returning veterans and a few newcomers, the team eagerly anticipates kicking off an amazing season with its first race on April 23 at Adelphia USCF.