Andover Continues Undefeated Season With 40-19 Win At Deerfield

After more than two weeks of hard training, Boy’s Cross Country swept through Deerfield with an almost perfect score of 19 to 40 on an extremely wet and muddy course. Head Coach Jon Stableford, said, “Our goal was to take six of the top seven spots, and that is what we accomplished.” The race began with a fast start around the athletic fields. Although Deerfield’s course was the flattest the team has raced on, it was in no way easy, as there were enormous puddles patches of mud, and long grass that made for slow conditions. Andover’s number one, Renat Zalov ’11, let Deerfield’s Belcher set the pace for the first loop, but by the end of the first mile, Zalov took the lead, where he would remain for the duration of the race. The rest of the pack originally surrounded three Deerfield runners, but like Zalov, by the end of the first mile, they were steadily moving up in the race. The second mile was tough, and dominated by deep mud dreaded by the racers. But by the third mile, the runners were back on track. James Hamilton ’12 and Nick Kearns ’11 were both pushed hard at the start, opposite of their running strategy, which is to start out slow and kick hard in the last mile. By the third mile, Kearns had passed Deerfield’s second runner, and Hamilton was gaining on him as well. In fact, Kearns moved up to fourth, right behind Matt Appleby ’11. Both Tim McLaughlin ’11 and Patrick Wolber ’11 faded a bit at the end, but Hamilton came on strong, passing two Deerfield runners right before the finish. Zalov came in first with a season best of 16:16, with Deerfield’s Belcher six seconds behind him. Appleby toook third with a time of 16:36. Kearns and McLaughlin, not far behind, finished with times of 16:40 and 16:47. Rounding out the scoring were Wolber and Hamilton with times of 16:54 and 17:06. After four more Deerfield runners, Chris Batchelder ’11, Billy Muran ’10, and Kian Ivey ’12 crossed the finish line before Deerfield’s sixth and seventh runners. Zalov said, “I believe that the pack was a little more spread out because of the weather conditions: the clay-like terrain during the second race was a big factor too. The course was very flat; however, it did not feel easier than out own course”. Appleby said, “Although it was a flat course, every half mile or so there was some element that slowed us down.” This Saturday, Andover will end a dynasty under Head Coach Stableford ’63 who is retiring at the end of this year, against archrival Exeter. The race promises to be electrifying, as Exeter is Andover’s strongest opponent heading into the season ending NEPSAC Division One Cross Country Championships. The team, undefeated so far this season, will look to remain unbeaten. Appleby is confident that Andover can come away with a win, “We have been training very hard with some extremely difficult workouts, so I expect our team to dominate on our home course this weekend against Exeter.”