Finishing with a collective time of 1:37:40.00, Andover Girls Cross Country beat out runner-up Greater Boston Track Club by just seven seconds in its first-place victory at the Codfish Bowl last Saturday in Boston, M.A.
After its first meet at Noble & Greenough got cancelled, the team started its season on a high note, trumping older teams such as Merrimack College and Simmons College.
“One of the most exciting aspects of the day was the closeness of our front pack,” said Coach Rebecca Hession in an email to The Phillipian. Andover’s top five runners from Saturday — Grace Rademacher ’18, Michaela Jones ’18, Peyton McGovern ’16, Carmen Bango ’16 and Co-Captain Anoush Shehadeh ’15 — all finished within 20 seconds of each other.
“We have workout groups, which help form bonds among teammates that carry over into the races, which is important to a successful team. Also, at the beginning of practices, we have time to interact with everyone on the team, which is key to the cohesion of a team,” McGovern said.
Early returns from newcomers Rademacher, Jones and Bango, combined with McGovern’s steady improvement, bode well for this year’s team.
Sharon Zhang ’16, Parker Tope ’16 and Sharon Platt ’15 finished after the top five Andover runners with times of 21:03, 21:32 and 22:17, respectively.
“This is actually potentially our strongest season in a while. Our new runners have so much potential, and as a team we have so much depth. Individually, we are all super strong, and I think that if we progressively develop our path running, we will get even better,” said Tope. “I think that our biggest challenge will be staying in packs. Honestly, we are a force to reckon with.”
Gillian Cline ’16, Anna Kramer ’16, Morgan Rooney ’17 and Charlotte Berry ’15 finished afterwards at 23:22, 23:46, 23:58 and 24:01, respectively.
Some varsity runners also competed in the Northfield Mount Hermon (NMH) Invitational on the same day. Lauren Smith ’15, Olivia Brokaw ’18 and Alana Gudinas ’16 were Andover’s top representatives at NMH.
“I feel very confident about the rest of the season because we have a really tight pack of top seven runners, as well as many new and returning runners that have been improving all season so far. The sheer number of strong runners we have on the team hasn’t been seen in years, and I expect to be successful throughout the racing season,” said Gudinas.
“As far as improvement, I think we are just aiming to do what we have been doing all season — put in all our effort into practice and take care of any arising injuries, so that during races we are confident and, of course, fast,” she continued.
Andover will look to secure another strong finish at Choate on Sunday.