Girls Cross Country Finishes Undefeated Season With Third Straight NEPSTA Championship Title

Andover Girls Cross Country has never felt better, finishing with an undefeated season for the second year in a row.Andover captured its third New England Championship on Saturday with first place team finishes in the varsity and JV races. Andover’s score in the varsity race was a very low 22, thanks to the 1-2-3 finish executed by Abby Levene ’09, Captain Jen Downing ’08 and Stephanie Moroney ’09. All seven of the varsity runners placed within the top 15, meaning that for the second year in a row, every varsity runner was named to the Boston Globe’s All-New England team. Few teams could touch Andover’s JV team, which swept the competition with a perfect score of 15 as the runners in blue took the first five spots. The entire JV team finished among the top 20 in a field of 78 runners. With great conditions, impressive performances, and, of course, a double win, it was an unforgettable day. Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, CT hosted the 2007 New England Prep School Track Association Championships on Saturday. Choate’s 5k course provided a challenge; Coach Lang described it as an ideal cross country course because it “tested the runner’s ability to balance the need to go out fast with the need to save enough energy for the tough hills in the last two miles. With a nice downhill finish, those runners with a good final kick were rewarded.” Going into the race, Coach Lang pegged Exeter as the team to beat. Because the dual meet between Andover and Exeter was rained out the weekend before, Andover lined up on Saturday without knowledge of its main opponents. At the one-mile mark, however, the top four Andover girls held a dominating lead over Exeter’s top two runners and maintained this throughout. Thanks to smart coaching from Coach Lang, the team’s training prepared runners for the course so that the race came as an exciting feat rather than a defeating experience. Berol Dewdney ’09, who finished seventh, said “The course was fun because it forced you torace smart and anticipate the big hill in the second mile. Also, the downhill in the third mile helped you to have a strong finish.” Clearly, the team took on the challenge presented by the course and by the competition. Abby Levene became the NEPSTA All -Star with her first-place finish in a season’s best time of 18:28. Captain Jen Downing and Stephanie Moroney helped secure the win as they placed second and third with times of 18:49 and 19:10, respectively. Dewdney split up Exeter’s top two runners with her seventh -place finish, followed by Sarah Cohan ’08 in ninth. Aubrey Zimmerling ’09 and Sara Ho ’08 both finished before Exeter’s third runner, in 11th and 14th place. The JV race showcased Andover’s deep talent, as the perfect 15-point win reinforced the message that the team has incredible strength throughout its roster. Kristin Faulkner ’11 led the race by a sizeable margin until the very end, when she collapsed not far from the finish. She recovered and soon felt fine, impressing the team with both her gutsy race and her bravery. Tavie Abell ’10 stepped up to take first place with a time of 20:35, followed by Caitlin Kingston ’11, Kie Watanabe ’08, Annie McDonough ’09 and Lexi Moroney ’11 in second, third, fourth and fifth places overall. Caroline Gezon ’10 and Becca Macrae ’09 took seventh and eighth, while Vivian Wehner ’09 finished in 16th place and Jessica Siemer ’10 took 18th.