Post-Graduate Samantha Valentine ’17 raced past the finish line in 18:14 minutes, outpacing the nearest St. Paul’s runner by an entire 98 seconds. Valentine’s time in the 5K course carried Andover Girls Cross Country to a 18-43 win last Saturday, propelling the team’s record to 2-0.
Despite her impressive margin of victory, Valentine said, “How much faster I finish in relation to other competition isn’t as important to me as how I personally got through the race. During the race at St. Paul’s, I tried to focus on keeping my thoughts positive because once I start to doubt myself is when everything goes downhill.”
Michaela Jones ’18 trailed Valentine all the way to the finish line, securing a second-place finish for Andover with a time of 19:03 minutes.
“When I ran the final stretch toward the finish line I wasn’t really thinking about coming in second place. I was just focused on finishing the race strong and getting as good a time as possible,” said Jones.
Persevering despite a hip injury, Marina Hunt ’17 finished in fourth place with a time of 20:46 minutes. Hunt trained tirelessly the week before to ensure she would be ready for the race.
Hunt said, “After being out for about a week, I made sure to take really good care of my hip, so I would be able to run at St Paul’s. I also prepared by generally staying focused during practices and pushing myself during hard workouts so that I would be mentally prepared to keep up my effort during the tough parts of the race.”
Newcomer Alisa Crueger-Cain ’20 completed the course in 21:11, securing a decisive fifth place for Andover. Eight seconds behind Creuger-Cain, Isabella Morzano ’18 finished in sixth place with a time of 21:19.
Jessica Wang ’18, who completed the course in 21:29 minutes to secure eighth place, said, “During the race, I focused on staying strong and steady. When I ran by Coach Hession, she told me to stay patient, which helped me relax and find my pace.”
The team had an intensive week at practice, which set the stage for its successful meet.
Jones said, “Last week we did a three-mile tempo workout, and it went well. That definitely gave me confidence that our team could run strong at St. Paul’s.”
With strong performances in both of the last two meets against St. Paul’s and Choate, Andover looks for another win this Saturday in an away meet against Northfield Mount Hermon.
Editor’s Note: Jessica Wang is an Associate Video Editor for The Phillipian.