Since arriving as a new Upper last year, Carmen Bango ’16 has worked her way to the top of Andover Girls Cross Country’s lineup. This season, Bango has captured first place overall at the Northfield Mount Hermon (NMH) Invitational and in a race against Choate last weekend. In the Codfish Bowl, she finished a mere four seconds behind a Tufts University runner, taking second place out of 161 runners.
At the NMH Invitational, Bango improved her personal record (PR) at the course by nearly two full minutes. She said, “At NMH, [my time] was 19:19, which I was really happy with because it’s a challenging course. It’s filled with these tight turns, hills, and it’s mostly in the woods.”
She also set a new PR at the team’s home meet with a time of 18:36.
Bango’s teammates credit her work ethic as a reason for her quick start to the season. Grace Rademacher ’18 said, “She works very hard. She’s always going off and doing more – doing some core, running some extra miles, doing extra repeats.”
Bango was first introduced to cross country through running track, which she did in middle school. Although she did not start running cross country until her freshman year at her previous high school, Bango immediately made an impact on the Andover team last year.
Captain Peyton McGovern ’16, a close friend of Bango on the team, said, “[Bango] came in as a new Upper and was extremely crucial to our team’s success last year. I know she will be building on that success this year, which is super important for our team as we progress this season.”
Bango’s experience with cross country as a team sport at Andover has vastly altered her perspective on running.
Bango said, “Before coming to Andover, I looked at cross country as more of an individual sport, and I had my own individual goals. But since I’ve come to Andover, I’ve embraced the team aspect, and the team is really like my family here. They just get me so excited to come to practice and motivated during workouts, so I think that just our relationship as a team has been extremely influential to our team’s success and my own individual success.” This year, Bango has adjusted to her new role as a Senior and a leader. Rademacher said, “[Bango has] become a really strong leader for the team because she’s a Senior now. She had a really great summer of training and she had a really great first race. She’s setting an example [for the team].”
Head Coach Rebecca Hession added, “[Bango] is part of a great group of leaders on the team this year. Each Senior has different strengths and ways to support their teammates; together they make a considerable impact on the team dynamic.”
Bango said she has high hopes for herself and the team this year, especially after her role in securing a perfect score in a win against Choate.
She said, “As a team, a goal is to win Interschols again, for both the Varsity section and JV section of the team. Last year I did not have the best race at Interschols, so I hope to have a great race this year and hopefully come in the top three.”