Andover Boy’s Cross Country swept through NMH last weekend and dominated, taking nine out of the top ten spots and winning with a score of 16-47. Andover had raced NMH three times before and won handily each time, so the real competition was the tricky winding course. Knowing that the NMH JV squad had no chance against an extremely deep and talented Andover team, Coach Jon Stableford decided to run twelve instead of the regular seven runners in the varsity race to give top JV runners valuable experience, as well as competition. This proved to be excellent strategy, as the Boy’s JV squad completed a perfect sweep through NMH, with a score of 15-50. Off the line, Andover immediately took the lead. Charles Ganner ’10 and Mike Discenza ’09 established a sizeable lead over the rest of the pack, finishing the first mile in under 5:10. Not far behind, Tim McLaughlin ’11 and James Hamilton ’12 battled with NMH’s number one runner, eventually beating him out in the last mile to give Andover the sweep. The hills began in the second mile, and the runners slowed down considerably to avoid the large rocks and roots scattered about the narrow trails. After the second mile, Andover clearly held a huge lead, which it retained for the remainder of the race. Ganner crossed the line first in 17:18, followed by Discenza in 17:35. Hamilton and McLaughlin came in together, both with times of 17:45, followed by NMH’s first runner. Captain Eli Howe ’09 rounded out the scoring five with a time of 18:07, leading a string of six more Andover runners. Out of the twelve runners in the varsity race, only three NMH runners were able to penetrate the team. In the JV race, Andover completely dominated, with only one NMH runner finishing in the top ten. Scott Fleming ’10 lead the whole race and finished in 18:46, faster than all but one NMH runner in the varsity race. Eli Grober and Eric Sirakian followed Fleming across the line with strong races with times of 19:31 and 19:49. With only two weeks left in the season, Andover now looks to focus fully on preparation for Interschols. Coach Stableford highlighted the major obstacles the team will face in its quest for victory, “Our biggest challenge in the coming weeks is getting people healthy. We need to avoid injury and get our injured runners back into competition. If we can go to Interschols with our whole team healthy, we should be very close to the top” Stableford continued, “If we are to win Interschols, a few things have to come together: at the varsity level, we need to bring our top six runners closer together in time as well as make them faster. We need to have [our] runners beat their counterparts from both St. Paul’s and Exeter. We also need to use the top runners from teams outside the top three who do not figure to win to add points to our opponents (Exeter and St. Paul’s) and not to our own score. If we can accomplish these goals then we should be well prepared for the races.” One missing link in the team is the absence of top seven runner, Patrick Wolber ’11, who is still recovering from a chronic knee injury that has plagued him since the Andover Invitational earlier in the season. If he can return in good shape to the team, then Andover should be a fierce competitor at Interschols. Andover will face off against a strong Deerfield squad this Saturday at 3:45pm.
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