Andover Can’t Keep Pace

Andover Girls Cross Country’s top two finishers Kelsey Jamieson ’12 and Katie Ellinger ’12 snagged top 10 rankings at the NMH Invitational, placing 4th and 7th place with times of 21:34 and 22:14, respectively.

Teamwork played a substantial role in the finishes, with Jamieson and Ellinger helping each other set the pace.

“We ran about the first half of the course together, and we encouraged each other to run a little faster throughout, which definitely helped both of us out,” said Jamieson.

Rachel Wittenberg ’13 came in close behind, finishing the race in 23:28.

Mary Catherine Nanda ’14 completed her debut race in 24:44, fast enough to earn her an “Under-25 Club” team t-shirt.

Coach Nancy Lang said, “Mary Catherine was injured for all of last season, so this was her first race for the team. She followed the plan and made some smart adjustments during the race and had a very strong finish.”

Andover traveled to Northfield Mount Hermon for the race, where it competed against four other prep schools. Out of three scoring teams, Andover scored 56 points, earning a third place finish behind Loomis and NMH, who scored 27 and 46 points respectively.

The team’s race strategy, suggested by Lang, was to run the first mile “conservatively,” the second mile “carefully” and the third and last mile “strong,” gradually increasing running speed. Treating the race as a transition from the preseason to the regular season, the plan was put into action to regain the feel of racing and to prevent injuries.

“They did exactly what they were supposed to do on this day, but we certainly haven’t seen their best race yet. We’re going to work on strengthening our pack, both in numbers and speed to improve our ranking,” said Lang.

The team only brought a tight core of seven experienced and healthy runners to the Invitational. Promising runners such as Marga Kempner ’12, Julia Smachlo ’13, and Lydia Azaret ’12 were absent.

Andover hopes to train hard in preparation for its upcoming race against Choate Rosemary Hall, specifically by increasing the running load in the following three weeks. The team will use a combination of distance, hills, cross training and interval days to raise the speed and endurance of each runner. Searching for inspiration after a mediocre week, the team will focus on exemplifying the Jack Dixon quote, “If you focus on results, you will never change. If you focus on change, you will get results.”

The extra work and motivation will help to build the entire team up to race level, as the Choate race this coming Sunday will be a debut for all of Andover’s less experienced runners.