Sports Winter Sports Winter Track & Field

Andover Crushes Competition In Season Opener

Andover Girls Indoor Track & Field started off its season by setting four new records in its first meet: a Junior Record in the 55-Meter Hurdles by Myra Bhathena ’22 with a time of 9.94 seconds, a Lower Record in the 1000-Meter by Charlotte Whitehurst ’21 with a time of 3:33.83, an Upper record in the 600-Meter by Sadie Cheston-Harris ’20 with a time of 1:49.34, and a new school record in the 4×400-Meter Relay by Bhathena, Cheston-Harris, Athalia Esty ’22 and Abigail Otterbein ’19 with a time of 4:24.54.

Andover hosted its season opener against Governor’s, Wilbraham & Monson, and Hyde on Saturday. In addition to setting multiple new records, Andover won the meet, with 79 points against Governor’s 60, Wilbraham’s 19, and Hyde’s 16. Andover’s record stands at 1-0.

According to Head Coach Rebecca Hession and Adaeze Izuegbunam ’20, the meet was mostly aimed to help the team ease back into the track season, as well as to help new runners prepare for the season ahead.

Coach Hession said, “We use the first meet as a way to practice, really. Even practicing being part of a meet because we have so many students who are brand new to track and field. This might be the first time they’ve done track, this might be the first time they’ve been on a team. So, there’s just really a big learning curve that goes along with order of events, the flow of things, how long it takes, getting in starting blocks for the first time, or being on the runway for the first time.”

“I had to take it pretty easy, since I hadn’t really done anything since volleyball season. Throwing is an event that is really hard to get back into, especially shotput. It is not a very natural motion. It is not really something that your body can do intuitively. And since we didn’t have a ton of time to prepare before, we had two or three days of throwing.” said Izuegbunam.

Because no other girls teams were present during the 4×400-Meter Relay, which occurred at the end of the meet, Andover raced alongside the boys teams. This competition helped push Andover to achieve its new school record, according to Bhathena.

Bhathena said, “I think the reason we did so well for the 4×400 was because no other girls [teams] were running, we were placed with the boys. We pushed ourselves. Because it was our last race, we pushed ourselves even further. And we gave everything, which got us even further.”

After just one week of practice, the team aims to continue to bond together and familiarize new runners with the sport and with each other, according to Coach Hession.

Coach Hession said, “We have a large team and it takes time to get a large group of people to become a team more than just a large group of people. We are a week into it. But things like, the veteran kids teaching the novice students what it means to be part of a team, what it means to do an event. We do full team warm ups together just to build the team aspect of the sport.”

According to Hession, after defeating its arch-rival by a mere one point last year, Andover is already looking forward to its meet against Exeter at the end of the season. However, the team also has its sights set on Interschols in the spring, where the team achieved first place last season, according to Coach Hession.

“Our [Phillips Exeter Academy] competition is always really strong so we have to be prepared for a team like that. But a lot of what we are doing is creating a building block for the outdoor season where we do have a championship meet. We expect to be competitive in the league but we also expect to be a team that continues to grow.” said Coach Hession.

The team’s next meet will be at home on January 9 against Governor’s.