Pulling away from Deerfield’s top runner inside the gates of the Sanctuary, Charlie Ganner ’10 and Mike Discenza ’09 combined for an electrifying 1-2 finish in Saturday’s race. With three runners posting times under seventeen minutes, Andover cruised to a 20-38 victory over Deerfield. Prior to the race, Coach Stableford established a goal of placing five runners under seventeen minutes. Although the team did not quite accomplish that feat, 24 Andover racers ran personal bests on the day. Ganner, Discenza, and Tim McLaughlin ’11 all broke the seventeen-minute mark, while Captain Eli Howe ’09 and James Hamilton ’12 rounded out Andover’s top five. Andover’s primary goal was to close the gap between its top five runners to earn the best possible score. Andover also hoped to ease key runner Patrick Wolber ’11 back into competition after his long recovery from a chronic knee injury. Andover came very close to accomplishing all of these goals on Saturday. Andover’s leaders took charge of the race right off of the line, with Ganner taking position in front of the pack. As the racers entered the sanctuary gates and started the slow climb to the log cabin, Discenza and Deerfield’s first runner stood ten yards behind. After progressing down the winding trail and up treacherous Heartbreak Hill, it became clear that Andover had complete control. Both Discenza and Ganner built comfortable leads over Deerfield’s number one, while McLaughlin held his place twenty seconds behind. Ganner cruised across the line in 16:24, followed by Discenza seven seconds after. After Deerfield’s first runner finished, McLaughlin closed out his race with a time of 16:53, while Howe followed in 17:22. After two more Deerfield runners kicked through the line behind Howe, Hamilton crossed the line in 17:38. Although the top five secured the win, Andover’s other runners ran phenomenally. In a breakout race, Michaeljit Sandhu ’09 surged through the line in 17:42 preventing Deerfield from adding any displacement points; as he closed out an impressive 20-38 win over a talented Deerfield squad. Wolber ran according to plan, finishing tenth and beating Deerfield’s seventh runner despite his inability to train since September. In the JV race, many runners ran personal bests, while several competitors raced for the first time this season. Matt Appleby ’11 burnt through the course, winning the race and setting a personal record of 17:46. Scott Fleming ’09 and Ben Ho ’11 also ran solid races, securing the win for the JV squad as they crossed the line with times of 18:05 and 18:26. With Wolber back on track and the rest of the top seven dominating, Andover looks to work towards its main goal of placing five runners under seventeen minutes. At practice on Tuesday, Stableford clearly stated that the most important thing for the runners to do at this point in the season is to eat well, and more importantly, sleep well. If the team can stay healthy and continue to improve as a whole, it should be poised to be a fierce contender at Interschols next week. This Saturday, Andover will travel to New Hampshire to take on Exeter.