In the first home meet of the season, the familiarity of the Andover course allowed the team to feel more prepared going into the race, according to Natasha Muromcew ’22 and Carolina Weatherall ’21.
“There is a thrill that comes from running in [the Cochran Bird Sanctuary] on the course we know so well. We know all the best routes and tangents, especially on the Great Lawn, which is arguably the most crucial part of the race. We know all the ‘wake up hills’ and exactly what to expect for the famous ‘Log Cabin’ and ‘Heartbreak’ hills in the Sanctuary. Our course is most certainly not the easiest course, but knowing this, it gives us power in how we approach it,” wrote Weatherall in an email to The Phillipian.
Muromcew added, “One of the biggest advantages is that we knew the course really well and we knew exactly what to expect, especially in terms of pacing. When running our course, there’s a lot of different hills and some of them are really big and really hard and you need to know when to pace yourself and how fast you should go in certain parts so that you don’t wear yourself out.”
According to Izzy Alvarez ’23 and Weatherall, the cheering of the team and home crowd from Family Weekend provided Andover runners with an extra boost of energy while racing.
Alvarez said, “Something that made it easier was definitely the home crowd and all of the parents because of Parents’ Weekend. The energy was very welcoming, warm, and spirited. It made all of us feel like we belong there and we were doing what we were supposed to be doing. That feeling of reassurance is always really nice.”
Weatherall added, “After the race is always so much fun as everyone cheers each other on. We have a goal among the team to smile ten seconds after the race, no matter the outcome. I especially like the new addition of the cowbells. They are loud, but it is the best feeling to finish a race with a teammate ringing a cowbell as hard as they possibly can.”
Almost every team member competed in the race – with many runners coming back from injuries – which contributed to the team’s high spirits, according to Caroline Empey ’22.
Empey said, “A lot of people have been either injured or recovering from injuries, so this was a couple of peoples’ first race back. It was exciting to have most of the team there. Since it was a home race, basically everyone ran and it’s always nice to run as a full team. Everyone got to enjoy the experience.”
Additionally, Andover demonstrated its continual growth and development as a team, many of its runners even achieving personal records on Saturday, according to Muromcew.
Muromcew said, “Tiffany Tang [’22] broke 21 minutes in the 5k for the first time which is really exciting for her. We now have three girls who can run under 21 minutes. Izzy, and Tiffany, [and I] have all [broken 21 minutes]. It’s really great for our pack running because now our front five runners have an average pace beneath 21 minutes.”
Andover will race Deerfield away this Sunday.