Bulger ‘11 Leads Andover to 10th Place Finish at College Race

Andover Girls Cross Country started off yet another successful season with a solid 10th place finish at the Codfish Bowl last Saturday. Twelve Andover runners traveled to Franklin Park in Boston, MA to compete against 22 college and independent teams. The only high school team at the race, Andover faired extremely well against many talented teams from prestigious universities such as M.I.T., Bates College and Wellesley College. While most high school teams raced at the Canterbury Invitational Race, Andover traveled to the open meet. There were numerous advantages to attending the Codfish bowl, as it provided tougher competition while reducing the traveling time of the team. In previous years, the team has finished as high as second place while racing against 13 teams. Newcomer Kate Bulger ’11 led the team with a phenomenal finish of 26th in 19:46. Following Bulger were Caitlin Kingston ’11, Katie Ellinger ’12, and Captain Caroline Gezon ‘10 in 41st, 44th and 73rd places respectively. Bulger’s success was no surprise, as she had been an important runner for Windsor Academy before coming to PA. Bulger said, “It was helpful that our first race was on my old home course. However, it was definitely harder to pace myself this race as I normally race right next to my twin sister Zoe, but I was pretty much by myself for this race.” Pace is possibly the most important aspect to any runner’s time, as it can be the difference between a personal record or a mediocre race. Many runners find that pacing off another runner helps them to find their ideal race pace, and in turn finish better. While Bulger was alone during her race, the next two racers, Kingston and Ellinger, had the advantage of pacing off each other, as they ran the whole race together, switching the lead and constantly chasing each other. After Captain Caroline Gezon ’10 finished the race by herself, Andover runners raced home in pairs. Mimi Tanski ’11 and Alex Morrow ’12 finished side by side, as did Molly Levene ’12 and Emily Kent ’11. Coach Becky Hession said, “I was impressed with every runner. Early season races are a great time to work on individual race strategies, refine pacing, and develop a routine as a team. Particularly, many girls had personal records, which is a great sign this early in the season.” While Gezon, Ellinger, Kent and Tanski all achieved personal records, all the girls were able to improve on past times and races. This race, not part of the official season, allowed new runners to experience real competition without feeling the pressure of a real race, meanwhile allowing returning runners to ease back into the racing season after summer training. “A big meet is a great way for runners to get energized for the season,” said Coach Hession. “Veteran and novice runners alike benefit from the atmosphere of a big meet.” Andover will face off against over eight other prep schools at the Andover Invitational next week on Andover’s home course.