Track Competes at USATF Meet at Harvard; Ganner ’10 Sets Lower Mile Record in 4:30.07

Girls Track This past Sunday, a select group from Andover Girls Indoor Track competed in the second USATF meet at Harvard. Many of the girls ran personal bests, and the team saw individual success in almost every event. Captain Simone Hill ’08 ran in the last indoor meet of her high school career, improving her 60-meter dash by almost a tenth of a second, from 8.23 to 8.14. Hill took eighth place in a highly competitive group of 29. Amanda Brisco ’10 took Andover’s best time in the 200-meter with a time of 28.08 seconds, edging out her competition by a significant margin. Alexis Dawkins ’10 competed in both the Long Jump and the 400-meter dash, nearly shaving off a shocking four seconds from her previous time of 61.08. Georgina Norton ’09 also took off an impressive three seconds from her mile time, coming in at 5:32 and in 16th place in a field of 40. Norton has been the most consistent and invaluable distance runner for Andover this season, but demonstrated that she can sprint too. Norton ran in the 4×400 team relay and recorded the second-fastest split of the group. The relay, clocking a collective time of 4:26.94, was at its best of the season for this team of four. This event, like many others, took off significant time from its previous runs, a total of five seconds. Sophie Shimer ’09, the lone Andover hurdler in the 60-meter hurdles event, displayed remarkable technique as she flawlessly three-stepped the entire race, a skill that most hurdlers take months to perfect. This meet proved to be a positive step for Andover runners as they take a short break and then resume training next week for spring track. While the indoor record of 4-3 was less than satisfying, Andover is confident that the outdoor season will reveal the team’s true potential. Boys Track Running against top competition at the USATF Championships at Harvard, Charlie Ganner ’10 impressively set the Andover Lower record in the mile with a time of 4:30.07. Although team points were not tallied, numerous Andover Boys Track runners recorded spectacular individual accomplishments on the day. Competing for the final time this season, Andover experimented with a new 4×400 relay team. Throughout most of the season, the team had been hovering around the 4-minute mark. However, on Sunday, a new all-star team of runners featuring Ganner, Frank Pinto ’08, Captain Lou Tejada ’08, and Mide Babatunde ’09 raced incredibly. The team set a season best time of 3:47.4 on the Harvard track. Although Ganner consistently dominated opponents throughout his season, he saved his best performance for last, breaking the Lower Record. “It just felt like a normal race.” Ganner said. Ganner was aided by the fast pace set by the steep competition of top high school and college runners at Harvard. Babatunde participated in his first meet since being named captain for the 2008-09 season. He lived up to the billing, setting a personal best in the 400. Also continuing to improve was Dan Austin ’10 throwing shot put and Anthony Morlani ’09, running hurdles. Throughout the course of the season, Jack Walker ’09 developed as one of Andover’s top sprinters.After the Harvard meet, coaches and players began to look back on the season that just ended and look forward to the upcoming start of spring track. Babatunde characterized the season as a success. “Although we didn’t have the undefeated season that I hoped for… I saw improvement in all my events,” said Babatunde. Although Andover fell short in its goal of beating rival Exeter, the many individual improvements in the final weeks of the season give the team momentum as it looks to the upcoming seasons.