Will Hetherington ’20 outsprinted St. Paul’s first runner in the last 100 meters of Saturday’s race to finish fifth in Andover Boys Cross Country’s 1-5 sweep at its dominant dual meet win on Saturday. Captain Alex Fleury ’20, Jacob Buehler ’19, Michael Turner ’20, Sam Capobianco ’21, and Hetherington placed first through fifth, respectively. Andover defeated St. Paul’s 15-48. Its record now stands at 2-0 in dual meets.
Andover’s race plan centered around beating St. Paul’s top competitor.
“Our strategy going into the meet was to run in packs and try and get as many runners as possible in before their first runner. That strategy was very effective and led to us winning the meet,” said Capobianco.
In an email to The Phillipian, Turner said, “Our plan was to have Alex do his thing in the front and then have our top 2-7 run as close together as possible. It played out similarly during the race. Alex went off, and our five-man group stayed relatively close together until a bit after the mile mark.”
In its first home meet this season, the team took advantage of the familiarity of the course to pace itself, according to Sam Lasater ’21 and Turner.
In an email to The Phillipian, Lasater wrote, “We had a decent advantage due to familiarity with the course. Everyone paces it a little differently. This time, I decided to speed up on the downhill stretch between the top of the Log Cabin Hill [about 1.2 miles into the race] and the bottom of Heartbreak Hill [two miles into the race] and maintain it through the finish. The downhill is a great opportunity to recover a little bit after running uphill to the log cabin. I realized I could speed up and still recover.”
In addition to defeating St. Paul’s and claiming the top five spots, Andover broke personal and seasonal personal best records, according to Capobianco and Turner.
“What stood out to me the most was how everybody performed. A lot of runners finished with season personal bests, and there were even some lifetime best times. The improvement from every runner and collectively as a team surprised me the most,” added Capobianco.
In an email to The Phillipian, Turner wrote, “We were able to get one runner under 17 [minutes] and our top two through six under 18, and two more runners close to breaking 18. Alex, our captain, ran an amazing race by himself in the front, 40 seconds ahead of second with a 16:28. Hugo [Solomon ’19] also had over a minute [improvement in his personal record], running an 18:06.”
Before the JV race, which Andover won 19-40 over St. Paul’s, a pre-race speech given by Sam Baxter-Bray ’20, brought the team together, according to Lasater.
“He helped us to focus and consider our advantages as well as disadvantages going in. He reminded us of how hard we worked. Sam wanted us to make sure we did not work hard for nothing,” said Lasater.
In preparation for the meet, the Andover focused on practicing in both small and large group running, according to Turner.
“Our coach has been focusing on group during workouts. Since people are at different levels, we all start workouts together with our groups, but then spread out. After every rep, we regroup and then start together again,” wrote Turner.
Andover will run this Saturday in a dual meet away at Northfield Mount Hermon.
Editor’s Note: Jacob Buehler is a Sports Editor for The Phillipian. Hugo Solomon is an Associate Video Editor for The Phillipian.