Supported by a third overall finish from Captain Ethan McIntosh ’15, Andover Boys Cross Country took second out of 15 teams at the NEPSTA Division 1 Championships (Interschols) this past Sunday at the Hotchkiss School. McIntosh, along with the first and second overall finishers, broke the Hotchkiss course record. McIntosh’s 15:58 finish was his second career finish under 16 minutes.
Despite McIntosh’s success, Andover was unable to defeat rival Exeter, which won its fourth consecutive Championship. Andover fell to Exeter 60-69 after falling to Exeter 27-29 in a dual meet one week earlier. Andover last defeated Exeter in 2010 at Interschols.
“The team made steady progress throughout the season and peaked beautifully at Exeter and at Interschols. Both Varsity and JV ran great races on Sunday, but a first-rate Exeter team got just ahead of the Varsity Team. I’m proud of them all,” said Head Coach Jeff Domina.
“While our goal was to beat Exeter in the Varsity race, we were still happy with the results. Exeter ran a great race, and their runners stepped up when they needed to,” added Noah Belser ’16.
Ralph Skinner ’16, one of two Uppers on Andover’s Senior-heavy roster, finished second for Andover and seventh overall in 16:57. The time marked Skinner’s second career finish under 17 minutes. Skinner also finished under 17 minutes a week earlier at Exeter.
Paul McGovern ’15 trailed Skinner to finish in exactly 17:00. McGovern, a four-year veteran, finished 12th overall for his highest career place at Interschols.
Indoor Track Captain John Gorton ’15 moved up from behind to finish in the Interschols top 20. Gorton raced to a 17:16 time and a fourth position for Andover.
McIntosh, McGovern, Skinner and Gorton were named NEPSTA All-Stars for their top 20 finishes and will have the opportunity to compete at the All-Star Meet this weekend.
Tom Burnett ’15 and Colby Lapointe ’16 worked in tandem for 17:32 and 17:33 finishes, respectively.
Arthur Doran ’15 rounded out Andover’s Top Seven with an 18:07 time.
Among the Seniors Andover is losing this year is top runner McIntosh. The team will look to Skinner to fill McIntosh’s shoes, much as McIntosh stepped up to take the place of front-runner Ian Whittall ’14 last year.
“[McIntosh] leaves some pretty big shoes to fill. I think he’s at least size 10,” said Skinner. “He [also] leaves metaphorically big shoes from a performance standpoint. [McIntosh]’s times will be difficult to beat, but I’m already looking forward to the challenge. As long as I can stay healthy and committed over the next year, I hope to reach a similar level of success that he reached this fall. Also, I’ll have some great teammates and coaches to help me reach my goals.”
Andover Cross Country will also graduate four other Seniors: McGovern, Gorton, Burnett and Doran. Andover will look to Lapointe and JV runners Basil Alfaro ’18, Jake Peffer ’17, BrianPaul Robert ’16, Holder Ringer ’17 and Belser to take on Varsity spots and fill leadership roles.
“We were the only team at Interschols to race as many as five Seniors in the Varsity race, so being able to fill the spots left by [McIntosh] and the other Seniors will be difficult but not impossible,” said Skinner.
Interschols marked the conclusion of Andover’s season. The team will elect next year’s Captain on November 18 as it prepares to chase down an Interschols victory next season for the first time in five years.
“I’m proud of all the guys on the team for all the hard work they put in the whole year. As a team, we’re all really close. It was a good ending to the year,” said Belser.