An intense battled raged between the Andover and Northfield Mount Herman first boats as they surged into the final 250 meters. No one could determine which team held the lead. With 20 strokes left, however, all eight Andover rowers increased their tempo as one, ripping past the competition to win by half a boat length. The Girls Crew team competed in a dual meet versus NMH last Saturday. After enduring the season’s most grueling training in the week preceding the race, the girls were determined to avenge their disappointing loss to Exeter. And that is exactly what they did. Head Coach Kathryn Green expressed her pride, “The girls worked harder this past week than they have all season; they must have been exhausted going into the race. However, any fatigue they may have been feeling was completely unapparent- both boats rowed beautifully.” The first boat race thrilled the spectators and pushed the rowers to their limits. Although Andover rowed a strong and focused race, NMH refused to surrender. The two boats each vied for position. Both coxswains yelled for their crews to pull with more strength, and all the rowers responded. As the boats passed the spectators’ venue with 250 meters left, coxswain Rachel Rauh ’07 demanded that her crew take a sprint. Andover’s comfortable rating of 33 strokes per minute instantly swelled to 39. Every boat member, Captain Erika Roddy ’07 at stroke, Jade-Isis Lefebvre ’08 at seven, Pia Heilmann ’07 at six, Liv Coffey ’07 at five, Becca Waldo ’07 four, Morgan Broccoli ’07 at three, Carly Villareal ’07 at two and Anne Motlow ’09 in the bow, let their overwhelming desire to succeed burst into a surge of strength. Not only did the boat slice through the water, it sped past NMH. Finishing in 5:32, the crew managed to out-pull its adversary by four seconds. After the first 15 strokes of the second boat race, it became clear that NMH was far overmatched—Andover’s G2 had already pulled away. The crew, with Erin Mullany ’07 at stroke, Sara Wallace ’08 in the seven seat, Ali Lyons ’09 at six, Sarah Beattie ’07 at five, Lindsay Newman ’09 at four, Isabelle Engelsted ’09 at three, Alex Farrell ’10 at two and Sarah Cohan ’08 in the bow, rowed with a grace and power that greatly surpassed the previous week’s. With each stroke, the squad continued to increase the gap. At the half way mark (750 meters), Andover retained a five-boat-length advantage. After rowing a poor middle 500 meters in the previous race, Andover refused to let it happen again. Not only did the girls maintain their composure, they pushed even harder. Although NMH was out of sight, coxswain Sardis Harward ’08 called for a closing sprint. Shooting over the finish line in 6:01, Andover put NMH to shame. The opposition completed the race 38 seconds, about 10 boat-lengths, later. Harward commented, “The race felt really strong all the way through, which is impressive, because we secured an enormous lead very early on. We’ve been focusing on keeping the middle section of the race strong and composed, and that was evident. It was remarkable to see how much we had improved in just a week.” Although exhilarated by the day’s victories, Andover refuses to become complacent. This weekend, the team will face the season’s ultimate challenge: the New England Interscholastic Championship. With the first boat seeded third behind Exeter and Saint Paul’s and the second boat seeded only behind Exeter, Andover is determined to smash its ranking and accomplish its goal to reach number one.