Boys Cross Country Fall Sports Sports

Boys Falter in Nailbiter Race

Racing through slush and slippery slopes, Ethan McIntosh ’15 ran the fastest time of his career en route to a first place finish at Exeter, breaking 16:00 for the first time.

McIntosh’s performance was part of a nail-biting 29-27 Andover Boys Cross Country loss to Exeter. Andover has lost to Exeter four years in a row, and the team’s Seniors have never defeated Exeter in a dual meet. The loss also ended Andover’s previously-undefeated season.

John Gorton ’15 finished in fourth overall and set a personal record time of 16:33 on a flat Exeter course. Gorton passed two Exeter runners in the final half-mile of the race to make the dual meet competitive. Gorton’s time is 33 seconds faster than his personal record time of 17:06.

“Coming into the home stretch of the course, it became clear that we did not have enough runners to break up the pack of four Exeter runners in places two through five. I knew that I had to break up that pack in whatever way I could. Passing two Exeter runners in the final half mile allowed me to redistribute some points and secure a pretty big [personal record] as well,” said Gorton.

Right behind Gorton and Exeter’s third and fourth runners, Paul McGovern ’15 and Ralph Skinner ’16 finished together in 16:42. McGovern and Skinner set personal records as well.

McGovern said, “We weren’t able to recover from Exeter’s extremely fast start. There was a point early in the race where Exeter had runners two through six. We almost came back in the last mile but couldn’t quite do it.”

Next for Andover were Colby LaPointe ’16 and Tom Burnett ’15, who finished in 17:04 and 17:06 in ninth and tenth place overall, respectively. Arthur Doran ’15 finished in 17:46 to round out Andover’s Top Seven. Abhinav Venigalla ’15 raced to an 18:00 finish.

The Exeter race course begins at the school’s football field, takes runners into flat trails coupled with scenic fields and then returns back to the start. The course, which is flatter than Andover’s course, supports personal records for Andover’s runners. The runners, however, battled tough race day conditions of strong winds and rain.

Andover will look to avenge its loss to Exeter at the NEPSAC Division I Cross Country Championships (Interschols). Having increased in position at Interschols the past four years — seventh in 2011, fourth in 2012 and second in 2013 — Andover looks to take home the title this year.

Andover’s runners will reduce their training load and focus on developing their packs in preparation for Interschols.

Interschols will take place this Sunday at Hotchkiss. Although Andover will travel over four hours to race at Interschols, the difficult Hotchkiss course will favor Andover’s runners, who are experienced hill runners.