The Andover Girls Cross Country team lost its first dual meet in two years against Choate last Sunday with a score of 30-29.
Coach Nancy Lang said “It was tough on the team to lose the meet, but there were so many silver linings that we finished the day feeling optimistic and hopeful about future races.”
“We knew that Choate had three very strong front runners, and we were looking to make this race a close one, which we did. Depth is our strength, and we will continue to capitalize on it,” she continued
Led by Kelsey Jamieson ’12 (21:04) and Captain Katie Ellinger ’12 (21:58), with Hailey Novis ’13 (22:04) close behind, the team managed to capture seven of the top 10 spots despite a difficult loss.
Evelyn Tackett ’15, Andover’s prominent new runner, impressed in her debut, covering the course in 23:24.
Lang said, “Evelyn shows great potential, and she’s one of our up and coming runners. She stuck well with the pack of older runners, and I’m looking forward to watching her continue to race as we move on in the season.”
Maintaining a tight pack played a substantial role in the team’s finishes, with all seven varsity runners sticking close together.
Ellinger said, “I really liked running together; if one of us got tired, there were still others to push us and maintain the pace.”
Novis said, “For the first time this season, the entire team was competing. It was fun to see all 50 of us out on the course, with a benchmark time for everybody. My hope is that we’ll build off this race.”
Racing conditions were abnormal during the meet, held. Temperatures lingered around 85 degrees, leaving runners to toil through the course and making top times hard to come by. The Great Lawn proved to be soft and squishy, creating suboptimal racing conditions both at the beginning and end of the race.
Kelly Xia ’15 said, “I felt a bit nervous before the race, but once we started running it just felt like a normal run, except on a really hot day.”
Looking ahead to the rest of the season, the team will use a combination of endurance and speed workouts to hone the strength of each runner as it prepares for races against tough teams and on difficult courses. On Tuesday, the team traveled to Weir Hill in North Andover, where it completed a hill workout.
The team will face Nobles and St. Paul’s at home this Saturday.