Andover Cycling triumphed in a combined score of 67-74 against Phillips Exeter Academy on Wednesday in its final postseason ride. The boys team, scored alone, lost to Exeter 50-55, while the girls team, scored alone, beat Exeter 12-24, in a scoring system where the lower score is better.
The race, a 7.5 mile time trial, was hosted by Exeter in Hampton, N.H. In the eight-cyclist girls race, Elizabeth Holubiak ’18 won in a time of 18:22 minutes, her highest finish of the season, while Grace Hitchcock ’20 finished second in 18:46, Co-Captain Jess Wang ’18 finished third in 19:05, and Abigail Johnson finished sixth in 20:36. In the 14-cyclist boys race, Co-Captain Isaac Newell ’18 won in 17:47, Anthony Minickiello ’20 finished second in 17:50, Floyd Greenwood ’19 finished eighth in 19:24, Jacob Buehler ’19 finished ninth in 19:25, Samson Zhang ’20 finished twelfth in 20:20, and Philip Matteini ’19 finished thirteenth in 20:28.
Andover entered the race looking to enjoy both a mixture of competitive school-rivalry and fun, according to Grace Hitchcock ’20.
Hitchcock said, “As a team, we successfully achieved both our goals: we had a lot of fun and we beat Exeter.”
Despite coming out on top, Andover faltered slightly after suffering a narrow loss in the boys division of the race, according to Anthony Minickiello ’20.
“The biggest challenge impeding our victory was falling short of Exeter in the boys division by only a few points,” said Minickiello.
Andover also faced challenges in the difficult riding conditions presented by the course, according to Hitchcock.
Hitchcock said, “This race presented a few challenges, as it took place on a relatively busy road with cars, pedestrians, and recreational cyclists. As a result, every rider needed to be alert and attentive to their surroundings when riding — balancing speed and safety on the bike.”
Despite the challenging conditions, Andover did a good job remaining calm and focused throughout the whole ride, successfully avoiding injury or collision, according to Minickiello and Hitchcock.
“Our riders raced alongside traffic, so the team kept their wits about them to avoid high impact crashes, which was important because the riders reached speeds of nearly 30 miles per hour,” said Minickiello.
“Thankfully, every cyclist made it through the race without injury, while simultaneously having fun and competing well,” said Hitchcock.
In addition to the race, Andover enjoyed an afternoon filled with fun activities, including the chance to spend some time getting to know some Exeter cyclists.
Minickiello said, “The most exciting memory of the day came after the race. We had dinner with the Exeter kids, which was so fun, and we got to go swimming afterward in freezing cold ocean water. Those things were a blast.”
The team attributes its success throughout the season to its dedication to teamwork and the enthusiasm and spirit displayed by its members, according to Minickiello and Hitchcock.
“The thing I love most about the team is the enthusiasm which runs through all of us. Jess and Isaac are always ready to get us excited for racing and cheering on teammates, which is important on days when we aren’t feeling ready to race and want to give up, so I can credit much of my success to my captains, who have been an unfailing source of inspiration for me,” Minickiello.
Hitchcock said, “As a whole, the team did a great job of racing hard, putting in all our effort, and seeing the season’s tough work pay off in the final race of the season. More than anything else, we were all really supportive of one another, as always, cheering each other on and celebrating the successes of the team. And that’s easily one of the things I love most about this team. Because we’re a small team, we’re a really close group of teammates and we’re consistently and enthusiastically rooting for one another.”