Final Straightaway Kicks Help Andover Steal One-Point Victory

Andover pulled off a win for the ages last weekend, edging out archrival Exeter by a single point. Exeter pulled ahead in the last mile, and it seemed that the race was lost. However, James Hamilton ’12 and Declan Cummings ’09 kicked furiously in the last half mile, each passing two Exeter runners and holding on to secure a 28-29 win. The Exeter course appeared unlike anything Andover had encountered; instead of being mountainous like Choate or the Andover home course, the Exeter layout was located on a floodplain, with the largest hill being “a small bump,” as Coach Jon Stableford described it. Charlie Ganner ’10 and Mike Discenza ’09 accelerated hard off the line, with Exeter’s top runner Thomas Leger right behind. Midway through the second mile, Andover looked strong, as both Ganner and Discenza were trailing just behind Exeter’s Leger. However, it was not Ganner’s day, as fatigue settled in and he fell back. The weight of the race was then placed on the shoulders of Discenza, who fought valiantly but could not keep up with Leger, who finished with a personal record of 16:06. Discenza crossed the line in 16:14, just three seconds ahead of another Exeter runner. At this point, the situation was bleak for Andover, as Exeter crossed its fourth runner before Andover’s third racer. However, Andover’s determination and perseverance led the team to a win. Andover then finished five runners in a row; Tim McLaughlin ’11 in 16:29, Ganner in 16:31, and Captain Eli Howe ’09, who finished in 16:56, led the first pack through the line. Hamilton and Cummings came charging through the line just seconds after. With all the excitement in the Varsity race, the JV squad refocused and turned out a phenomenal performance of its own. Matt Appleby ’11 and Exeter’s first runner battled for the whole five kilometers until the last 600 meters, when the Exeter runner took off and stole the win with a time of 17:14, while Appleby finished two seconds behind with a personal record of 17:16. Ben Ho ’11 finished only ten meters off the pace and logged a personal best time of 17:20. This weekend, Andover will travel to Avon to compete against the best from New England at the Interscholastic Championships.