PA Girls XC Maintains Undefeated Record; Depth of Team Decisively Overpowers St. Paul’s

Three Andover girls shattered the cross country course record at Lawrence Academy on Saturday, demonstrating the team’s remarkable talent and depth. The three-mile course held a previous best-time of 19:23, but now the record stands at 18:30, set by Captain Jen Downing ’08. Also in record-breaking time, Berol Dewdney ’09 finished in 18:41 and Stephanie Moroney ’09 finished in 19:04. Strong performances on all levels led to Andover’s dominating presence at the finish line against both St. Paul’s School and Lawrence Academy. The meet was scored as a three-way dual-meet, with Andover beating St. Paul’s 17-46 and shutting out Lawrence with a perfect score of 15-50. Though Lawrence Academy is not part of the NEPSTA conference, to which Andover belongs, the hilly course provided, as Coach Lang put it, “exactly what we needed at this point in the season.” One look at Lawrence Academy’s campus is enough to frazzle any runner’s nerves. The challenging course included an exhausting combination of very steep, short, uphill pieces and long, gradual hills, alternating with panic-inducing downhill scrambles. The team’s training in the week leading up to the race was tailored specifically to prepare for Lawrence Academy’s course. Tuesday’s speed workout incorporated “wake-ups” on grass, in which the team practiced increasing their pace while overtaking an opponent. Thursday’s hill workout also imitated the course. For what Coach Lang dubbed the “rock and roll” workout, the team did race-pace pieces up the Morton Street hill, followed by 10 short uphill sprints to ensure strong performances on the hills during the race. This targeting training certainly aided Andover’s success on Saturday, but sheer determination and speed were responsible for the record-breaking performances. Abby Levene ’09 finished fourth for Andover after Downing, Dewdney, and Moroney. Next came Sarah Cohan ’08 and Kristen Faulkner ’11 as Andover took 6 out of the top 7 spots, sweeping Lawrence Academy and allowing only one St. Paul’s runner to affect Andover’s score. Faulkner was followed closely by Aubrey Zimmerling ’09 and Sara Ho ’08. Despite the challenging terrain, times were fast, as the course was about 0.1 miles short of a full 5k. This also meant no personal-best 5k times could be recorded. Nevertheless, the race boosted the confidence of many runners and provided a good hill-workout to prepare for Parent’s Weekend. The impressive races by each individual will provide inspiration as the team gears up for the Parent’s Weekend race against Northfield Mount Hermon on Andover’s home course. The Varsity and JV squads will run together in girls beginning at 3:45 on Saturday.