Caitlin Kingston ’11 and Kate Bulger ’11 flew across the finish line at last Saturday’s Andover Developmental Invitational, securing yet another Girl’s Cross Country victory. Despite the stormy weather, the race was a complete success as every girl gained valuable racing experience heading into the core races of the season. The weather throughout the afternoon was dismal, as storm clouds lurked threatening to unleash a downpour on the racers and the already soggy course. However, the girls’ attitudes remained upbeat and focused throughout the afternoon, as exemplified by the great races that were ran that day. The goal of the Invitational Meet was to introduce new runners to the competitive environment of a cross-country race and to help returning runners ease into the season. However, this did not prevent Andover from dominating the varsity race against Exeter, Loomis Chaffee, Northfield Mount Hermon and Southfield. Kingston, Bulger and Katie Ellinger ’12 lead throughout the race, trading the lead pushing each other to earn better times. No other pack could challenge the trio, as they finished over twenty seconds ahead of the next runner. Kingston and Bulger crossed the line together with times of 19:59, followed closely by Ellinger who earned a personal record with a time of 20:07. Coach Becky Hession commented on the trio’s incredible performance, “Kate, Caitlin and Katie ran much of the race as a pack. It was exciting to see them finish 1, 2, 3 and a validation of how important running as a team can be”. Hession continued, “I was thrilled to see this type of teamwork, as running as a team is a crucial component of the sport. The technique can improve individual performances and makes a team harder to beat”. Captain Caroline Gezon ’10 finished next for Andover in 9th place with a personal record of 20:59. Gezon commented on her race, “Running a personal record is really exciting. Finishing under twenty-one minutes is a major milestone for me because it has been a goal since my lower year, the first year I ran cross country.” Gezon continued, “Racing isn’t about running a personal record every time though. The best kind of race is when you feel strong and fast throughout and faster at the finish.” Coach Hession said, “Both Exeter and Loomis Chaffee had very strong teams. Despite our win today, it is still hard to tell where our strongest competition will appear this early in the season.” Hession continued, “Improvement in times from week to week, and from season to season, is an indicator to a runner that her training, in terms of endurance, speed, and mental toughness, is working”. Next week, Andover will face off against strong squads from Choate and St. Paul’s.