After a rigorous preseason, Andover Girls Cross Country will look to produce another strong season under the leadership of Co-Captains Evelyn Tackett ’15 and Anoush Shehadeh ’15.
In the 2013 season, the team put together a 5-1 record. Andover will look to go undefeated this year with six of its Top Seven runners—Shehadeh, Peyton McGovern ’16, QiQi Ren ’15, Sharon Platt ’15, Sharon Zhang ’16 and Alana Gudinas ’16—returning.
Along with the impressive season record, the team placed third at Interschols last year. Shehadeh led the team to both of its successes, breaking four course records and winning Interschols with a time of 18:04. She currently holds six course records in the New England Prep School Division I.
Along with its talented returners, the team has many new faces to bolster its ranks. “The new runners are really quite experienced, and having a Co-Captain helps when you’re getting to know everyone,” said Shehadeh.
Course knowledge is an important part of posting good times, and since the majority of the team is returning, Andover will have an edge in many of their matches.
“There’s definitely a system to running a 5k race, especially on our home course. Having a good base of returning runners is really important,” said Anna Kramer ’16.
The team started its preseason on September 3. The coaches designed an intense program that would push the runners to be in peak condition by the beginning of the season.
“We got to do running and strength work every day, which is nice because we don’t have time to do that during the season. It was a really good base,” said Gillian Cline ’16.
Although cross country is a team sport, it is natural for runners to adhere to an individualistic mindset. Many players set personal goals and work towards those during the season. Shehadeh sees this as a strength that will help the team in the long run.
“The individual goals can help fuel the team goals. I think those two things will feed off of each other and it will be a good thing for the team,” said Shehadeh.
Andover Girls Cross Country hopes to kick off its season with a victory against Noble & Greenough on Saturday.
Alex Apgar ’17 contributed to reporting.