Ian Whittall ’14 strained to overtake the first runner from Northfield Mount Hermon (NMH), Mohamed Hussein NMH ’14, as they crossed behind the Chapel. Hussein ultimately pulled ahead on the final stretch to the Great Lawn. Whittall finished just 19 seconds after Hussein for a 16:22, second place finish.
Although Whittall and Ethan McIntosh ’15 battled NMH’s top runners for first and third place on Saturday, Andover claimed its first overall victory 26-33 fueled by a rush of consecutive finishes.
“[My goal] was probably to beat Mohamed, but he is a great runner, and I thought I ran pretty well, so it was good race,” said Whittall in an interview with The Phillipian.
After Hussein and Whittall crossed the finish line, McIntosh and NMH’s Estevan Velez ’16 battled for third place. Velez just pulled ahead to outrun McIntosh, who was still recovering from an ankle injury from the St. Paul’s tri-meet, on the Green Lawn stretch. McIntosh fell just short to Velez by three seconds with a time of 16:51.
Following McIntosh, Captain Scott Diekema ’14 beat out NMH’s third runner, Henry Colt ’14, with a time of 17:07. “I went out with the usual pack. I went out with Paul [McGovern ’15], Ethan, and Kailash [Sundaram ’15], and we stuck together throughout the first half of the race, and then, I tried to stick with NMH’s number two down the hill towards Heartbreak. I lost him on Heartbreak, but I was able to stay ahead of their third runner,” said Diekema.
Once Diekema and Colt finished the race, the rest of the Andover team finished in a tight pack. Paul McGovern ’15, Kailash Sundaram ’15, Tom Burnett ’15 and Daniel Lee ’14 ended with times of 17:29, 17:56, 18:06 and 18:09 respectively.
“That was the strategy. Coming into the race, Kailash tried to push up to get with Scott and Paul, and I tried to push up to get with Kailash, and Daniel Lee tried to push up to get with me. We were all pushing each other,” said Burnett.
With a win under its belt, Andover is looking forward towards improvements to come in the latter half of the season.
“I think this was a really great race for our team,” said Diekema. “It shows that we have a really strong pack that will definitely be really helpful in the races to come and the league championships, and we did beat NMH earlier in the season, so we were hoping for another win, but it was definitely a tough race, and we stuck it out, and we did what we needed to do.”
The camaraderie is as strong as ever, with the boys running and working together during and after practices.
“The team bond is really good because we have a good captain in place. Scott does a great job with all of us, and I think we’re trying to get the guys together more outside of practice, maybe have some team dinners. Also, when practice ends, we do some core together, and we’re always able to talk on the runs,” said McGovern.