Leaning over the finish line, Myra Bhathena ’22 crossed just before her opponents to secure third place in the 55-Meter Hurdles with a time of 9.35 seconds. Her effort helped lead Andover Girls Indoor Track & Field to a second-place finish with 35 points against Andover High School, who scored 83 points, and Wilbraham & Monson, who scored four points, on Wednesday. The team’s record now stands 1-2.
In the practices leading up to the meet, the team broke up into groups by event to practice specific skills, according to Captain Georgia Ezell ’19.
Ezell said, “During the practices right before our meet, the team broke up into smaller groups that are event-specific, depending on which events each person would be competing in. For example, jumpers and throwers focused on refining their technical skills, and sprinters have been working on improving their starts using starting blocks.”
According to Melanie Cheung ’20 and Sadie Cheston-Harris ’20, facing Andover High is always competitive and energetic, and the team stayed determined despite being outnumbered.
Cheung said, “We compete against [Andover High] in outdoor as well and we know they’re good competition. They’re also here in Andover as well, so it’s like there’s that extra air of competitiveness, and because they’re local too it’s always just a high energy meet.”
Cheston-Harris said, “Racing against Andover High is always really exciting, their team is always super competitive, and they have a lot of numbers, so we knew we were going to have to give our all for the meet. As usual, their runners performed really well, but our team did a really good job giving our all even when we were running in heats with a ton of competition in them.”
The team’s performance in distance events and the high jump was especially strong with multiple personal records earned, according to Cheston Harris.
Cheston-Harris said, “Some of our newer runners had some really good [personal records] in the distance events, like the Two-Mile, Mile, 1000-Meter, and 600-Meter races. We also had a [personal record] in the High Jump by Melanie.”
Bhathena and Cheston-Harris stood out in many events this meet, according to Athalia Esty ’22 and Charlotte Whitehurst ’22.
Esty said, “Myra stood out today because it was a really good team we were racing against and she ran a lot of events, the 55-Meter Hurdles, 55-Meter Dash, and the 4×200. She ran really fast and hard and did well in all of them.”
Whitehurst added, “Sadie was amazing, she ran the third leg of the 4×400 right after she ran the 1000-Meter even though she was tired, and she did insanely good in both of them because she’s so fast. We’re so proud of her.”
The meet concluded with the 4×400-Meter Relay, comprised of Esty, Abbey Otterbein PG’19, Cheston-Harris, and Whitehurst, who passed an Andover High runner in the last stretch to win by .56 seconds, finishing with a time of 4:28.10. According to Kennedy Smith ’22, this race was a highlight of the meet.
Smith said, “The 4×400 was awesome to watch. All of them did really well, and it was really a shifty race, because we would go in front, and then go behind, and then Charlotte Whitehurst who was the fourth leg, she just put on the jets, and she just passed her which was incredible.”
Overall, the team was proud of its performance and is beginning to feel comfortable during meets, according to Cheung.
Cheung said, “I think people are feeling good about today and how we performed. I think we also were getting into a rhythm. It’s the second meet back from break, and it’s still really early in the season, but we’re at a place where people were a lot more comfortable with their events and I think everyone’s nerves are a little bit more calm too.”
Looking ahead, the team hopes to improve its depth so it can strategize for the meet against rival Phillips Exeter Academy at the end of the season, according to Head Coach Rebecca Hession.
Hession said, “We’re going to work on fine tuning our technique, our speed, and our depth a little bit across the board, and then it’s starting to really figure out where our strengths are, and where are certain events that we are particularly strong. When it comes to our dual-meet against Exeter, we have to be really strategic, so the more information we know about the whole team, the more strategic we can be in how we set up for that meet.”