Boys Cross Country Finishes Third at Interschols; Ganner ’10 and Howe ’09 Lead Andover Squad

Led by top runners Charlie Ganner ’10 and Eli Howe ’09, the Andover Boys Cross Country team closed its fall season with a solid third- place finish at Interschols. Running on an extremely challenging Choate course, the team ran a good race, but in the end was unable to overcome the older and more experienced St. Paul’s and Exeter squads. St. Paul’s took first place overall with several runners in the top 10, followed by Exeter in second place. The 2007 Interscholastic tournament included 11 different teams from across New England, and was held at Choate Rosemary Hall last Saturday during Andover/Exeter weekend. Exeter and St. Paul’s were the definite favorites going into the race, and Andover knew it would need an unreal performance to surpass these strong teams, as well as sub-par times from the competition. Andover came into the race ranked third, but wanted to push for a better finish. The team’s original game plan was to start with a quick pace, which would hopefully shake off the eight teams it knew would not be able to stay with them. Starting fast would then potentially force Exeter and St. Paul’s to run at an uncomfortable pace and hopefully cause them to falter and eventually tire. Halfway through the race, Andover found it was well-positioned following this strategy, and had several members powering their way to the front packs. Ganner stayed with the front pack of five throughout the race, which was led by eventual winner Eyob Eyualem ‘08 of Exeter. Howe and Mike Discenza ‘09 stuck with the second pack, which was not far behind the leading five. Tim McLaughlin ‘11, Phil Hofer ‘10 and Nate Thomas ’08 also ran well, but struggled to keep pace with this strong second group. Two miles into the course, the two front groups began to climb the long hill leading to the campus water tower. At this point, both Exeter and St. Paul’s were beginning to pull away from the Andover runners. The mile to the finish provided a few place changes, but the stronger and older teams prevailed over Andover’s very young team. Andover’s top runner, Ganner, provided a very exciting finish, passing Deerfield’s Anthony Schurz ’08 in the final stretch and almost catching Lowell Reeve ‘09 of St. Paul’s. With his final push at the end, Ganner finished third overall in 16:20, a phenomenal performance for a Lower. Howe finished second for Andover in eighth place with a time of 16:56, with Discenza following in 14th place overall in 17:19. Nate Thomas finished 17th in 17:28, just eight seconds from All-New England honors, and Hofer crossed the finish in twenty-second place with a time of 17:36. McLaughlin placed 23rd with a time of 17:37, and Cummings was 35th in 17:58. Coach Stableford was very impressed with his team’s effort, and has high hopes for next season: “All told, our performance was strong enough to leave the next eight teams far behind, and spirited enough to challenge the two better teams.”