Boys and Girls Win Interschols; Hetzler ’10 and Mason-Rodriguez ’11 Score 53 Points

In the first dual victory since 2001, both Andover’s boys and girls track teams won the NEPSTA Division I Interscholastic Championships at Deerfield Academy on Saturday. “Dual championships are really rare in NEPSTA, especially in Division I,” said Coach Louis Bernieri. The girls team battled for the lead with Exeter to the end to win with 117 points, while the boys dominated from the first event, with a score of 146.5, the most points the team has scored since 1996. “The most important event was the 4×100 meter relay,” said Captain Peter Hetzler ’10. “We were projected to get second in the 4×100-meter relay, but we pulled out first place. This demonstrated the passion our team had to win the meet, and we kept the lead for the rest of the day.” Hetzler’s enthusiasm and talent led the team to victory. He won both the 300-meter hurdles and the 400-meter race and ran on the winning 4×400 relay team, to earn 22.5 points for the team. Malcolm Mason-Rodriguez ’10, consistently a high scorer, earned an amazing 30.5 points for the team. He won first place in the long jump and triple jump, ran on the winning 4×100 meter relay team, and got second in the high jump, a new event for him. Matt Higgins ’10 earned 17 points, running on the winning team in both the 4×100-meter and 4×400-meter relays, and earning third place in both the 100-meter and 200-meter relays. The Andover boys won an astounding eight events. Although Hetzler, Malcolm-Rodriguez, and Higgins earned a third of the team’s points themselves, they were backed by several single-event winners. Phil Hofer ’10 won the 800-meter, Alec Bingamen ’10 won the javelin throw, and Bobby Vardaro ’10 won the shot put. The girls, despite traditionally being the strongest team in the league, had to grind out the victory over a relentless Exeter, and with only five events left, were in second place. Based on the meet’s seeds, the position an athlete is expected to finish in based on his or her recent performances. Captain Colleen Flanagan said, “We were actually supposed to lose going by the projections. But I saw so many athletes shatter their seeds, stepping up when the team needed them. Every girl held her ground, scored high, and encouraged her teammates.” The girls won only three events, but the team’s incredible depth is what allowed it to pull the win out in the end. Allison Morrison ’12 continued to be the highest scorer for the team, with 21 points. Morrison won the high jump, scored second in the long jump, ran on the fourth-place 4×400 relay team, and finished fifth in the 300-meter hurdles. Aniebiet Ekpa ’11 and Alexis Walker ’12 finished first and second in 100-meter, second and third in the 200-meter, and ran on the winning 4×100-meter relay team with Flanagan and Rebecca Wagman ’13. Kelsey Jamieson ’12 ran second in the 3000-meter, Whitney Glick ’11 pole vaulted for second place, and Alexis Dawkins ’10 jumped third place in the triple jump. At the end of the meet the team crowded around to watch the Captains receive the winner’s trophy and both teams celebrated their victories. The team will face Exeter this weekend in the final meet of the season. Flanagan said, “Exeter’s coming for us on Saturday looking for blood, but we won’t give them anything. We’ll beat them by more than we did on Saturday.”