In its second trip to Northfield Mount Hermon (NMH) this season, many of Andover Boys Cross Country’s runners improved their times from the invitational held on the same course three weeks ago. Despite some fast times put up by the team, however, Andover lost 37-18 to NMH, putting its dual-meet record at 2-1.
Head Coach Jeff Domina wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “We saw several runners taking positions closer to the front, and Michael Turner ’20 assumed a new leadership role in the race and ran his fastest away time ever. A lot of runners felt sluggish in the wooded part of the course, however, and a few of them had trouble staying focused this week. The Andover boys had ran brilliantly the week before, and it’s definitely hard to run so well two weeks in a row…”
Leading up to the meet, the team tried to mirror the challenges of the NMH course in its workouts, according to Sam Lasater ’21.
“We trained a little differently. [During] the workouts, I think we tried to simulate pacing for pack running. We’ve been especially big on pack running this year. On Monday, we did a long run, Tuesday we did a track thing, Wednesday recovery day, Thursday long run, and Friday just an easy run,” said Lasater.
The team expected a high level of competition, but it still showed improvement from its previous run on the course, according to Turner and Captain Alex Fleury ’20.
Turner said, “[NMH] got all their runners in before our second. They were a lot faster than almost all the other teams we’ve raced before this season, other than the last invitational we ran out. Everyone ran faster than they did three weeks ago, which is really good for the team, knowing that we’re improving.”
“Once we were settled, we were able to get a cool down in, and we discussed certain parts of the race which were hard or easy for us. As usual, we already began to plan for how we can learn for next week’s meet,” wrote Fleury in an email to The Phillipian.
According to Lasater, Andover started strong but lost steam towards the end of the race.
Lasater said, “We were a little fast coming out at the start, and through the first mile. Later on, it showed in the race as a lot of people seemed to lose energy. Overall, NMH is a really good team. Considering the difficulty of the course, I don’t think we did too bad.”
The team will race Deerfield on Sunday, and has developed strategies to adjust for the day’s conditions and Deerfield’s level of competition, according to Fleury.
“For Sunday, we are going to continue to roll with the pack running we have working on for the entire season. It has brought the strength out in our runners while increasing our teamwork within races. Against Deerfield, we are aiming to have our best performance yet, which will require the execution of all of these things we have practiced.”