Uphill Battle At Deerfield

Combating rough terrain on Deerfield’s course, Andover Girls Cross Country had a close race against Deerfield last Saturday, with Anoush Shehadeh ’15 celebrating her tenth course record.

Despite Andover Girls Cross Country’s 30-25 loss, the team achieved many personal bests, with Peyton McGovern ’16, Qiqi Ren ’15, Sofia Barbosa ’16, Sharon Platt ’15, Gillian Cline ’16 and Anna Kramer ’16 rounding out the top seven.

Deerfield’s course is very different from Andover’s home course. Unlike Andover’s hilly trail, the course at Deerfield is grassy and flat. It also contains many small ditches that proved harmful to the runners.

Sharon Zhang ’16, who finished fourth place at Andover’s last meet, suffered an injury at the one and a half mile mark, which forced her to turn back for medical attention.

Shehadeh finished the Deerfield course with a time of 17:30, despite walking over three parts of the course.

“I actually walked three little parts of their course because I thought that if I had to choose between a slower time and an injury, I would definitely choose a slower time. Their course was long, 3.22 miles versus 3.11, so I was happy that I ran 17:30, and when I finished I wasn’t winded at all,” Shehadeh said.

Even with Shehadeh’s contribution, Andover lost the race by five points. The team however, did not dwell on the defeat.

“The team performed well. I think we are pretty evenly matched with Deerfield, and they were last year’s champions at Interschols. This year, we lost by only five points, and also one of our top runners could not finish the race due to injury, so that affected our score,” said Ren.

Anoush Shehadeh ’15 added, “Deerfield is definitely a force to be reckoned with in our league, so as a team we performed fantastically and we were so close to beating or tying them.”

“The long bus ride affected the team since we didn’t have time to do our full warm-up and fully prepare for the race,” said Morgan Rooney ’17. “We haven’t run on a course like Deerfield’s this season, and it was a bit longer, but we were able to do our best and get a lot of personal bests.”

For these reasons, Ren and Shehadeh retain high hopes for a winning performance at Interschols on November 9.

“[The outcome] makes me super pumped for a week and a half from now [at Interschols]. It was a great day to see how our team would perform under a lot of competition and I think we did super well,” said Shehadeh.

“We had several close races that could have come out either way, and I think if we win all of those close races when we see Deerfield again at Interschols, we have a very good chance of beating them. We just have to work on getting fast finishes and strong last miles, which are going to be key in close races,” said Ren.

This Saturday, Andover will host rival Exeter in the last regular season meet before Interschols.