Post-Graduate Samantha Valentine ’17 broke her own course record by four seconds at Northfield Mount Hermon (NMH) this past Saturday, with a time of 18:25 minutes. Valentine’s performance helped Andover clinch an impressive score of 15-44, continuing its undefeated streak.
Michaela Jones ’18, who crossed the finish line second with a time of 19:37 minutes, said, “It was great to see Samantha break her own course record at NMH. She works really hard at every practice, and her course record is a reflection of that. It has been great to get to train with her this year, and because she is faster than me, she pushes me to become a better runner.”
Jessica Wang ’18 said, “One broken course record is amazing – two is unbelievable. Samantha has been training really hard in practice, so we were all so proud of how well she ran.”
Andover achieved a perfect top five with Jones, Alisa CruegerCain ’20, Grace Rademacher ’18, and Wang finishing behind Valentine. Posie Millett ’20 and Natalie Yeh ’17 rounded out Andover’s runners with ninth and tenth place finishes.
Captain Morgan Rooney ’17 said, “The team did super well overall. We raced NMH earlier this year, and to see how much better and stronger we’ve gotten was really awesome.”
Newcomer Crueger-Cain dashed through the NMH course to finish in third place, with a time of 21:31 minutes.
Crueger-Cain said, “I think my race on Saturday was one of my best races so far this season, I think I did really well.”
Crueger-Cain credits her success to the older runners on the team.
“They work really hard in practice and they inspire me to train harder and faster,” she said.
Andover trained on its home course throughout the week in order to prepare for the difficulty of the NMH course, which is known for its rolling hills and narrow paths.
Rademacher said, “The NMH course is one of the hardest in our league, so it was an exciting race.”
Assistant Coach Rachel Hyland praised the runners and the preparation they put in before the race. “The NMH course has several hills in the second mile and the course is basically rolling hills the entire time. To prepare, we practiced by running some of the hills in the [Cochran Bird Sanctuary], and its very nice that we have our own course to train on,” said Coach Hyland.
Andover will face Deerfield this weekend in its only home meet of the season.
“In order to prepare for Deerfield, we’re doing interval workouts on our course and practicing interval runs that will be similar to those in the race,” said Hyland.
Jones said, “At our home meet against Deerfield, we hope to continue our winning streak and continue to work on our pack running. Home meets are exciting because everyone on the team gets to run in them. It will also be great to have more fans!”
Rooney added, “For this next meet, it’s our first and only home meet, so I’m excited for that, and the goals are to get everyone who can run to do so and cross the finish line! Additionally, I’m really looking forward to see all the progress we’ve made and how strong of a team we are pay off at home in front of a bunch of fans.”
Editor’s note: Jessica Wang is am Associate Video Editor for The Phillipian.