After losing to Phillips Exeter Academy 41-20 last year, Andover Boys Cross Country looks for revenge at this year’s Andover/Exeter competition. Andover currently has a dual meet record of 3-0, and achieved a perfect score of 15-50 at Choate earlier this season.
According to Captain Alex Fleury ’20, Andover is prepared for a challenging race against Exeter, the best ranked team in the league.
“We’re definitely looking to beat Exeter, but I think that the biggest challenge here is that [it’s] ranked the best team by far in our league. But I think this year, especially compared to last year, we’re really deep. We’ve got Chris [Ratcliffe PG’20], leading the team really well, and I think for [our] team goal, it’s just to get those packs that people are running in tighter,” said Fleury.
With impressive performances against Choate, St. Paul’s, and Northfield Mount Hermon (NMH) under its belt, Andover looks to carry its momentum into its race against Exeter, according to Head Coach Patrick Rielly.
“The team is in a great spot right now. We’re peaking at the right time, and we’re looking forward to testing ourselves against a very strong Exeter team. We’ve had a number of great performances this season by so many of our runners. I’ve been so impressed by the ways in which the team has come together to support each other’s achievements,” said Coach Rielly.
According to Fleury and Harry Chanpaiboonrat ’21, the runners are looking forward to the high energy atmosphere of the A/E competition.
“It’s just such a great vibe. There’s so many people that come to watch, like parents and fans and other students— it’s just a really great atmosphere as they’re cheering for us as we finish,” said Fleury.
Chanpaiboonrat said, “I just feel like everyone has this extra energy they keep for A/E, and it’s good to see that amongst all this stress we can still bring out our school spirit.”
For new runners, this weekend’s race will allow them to experience the historic rivalry between the schools, according to Ratcliffe.
Ratcliffe said, “This will be my first A/E weekend, so it’s something that I’m really excited for. It’s obviously been talked about a lot, so I’m just excited to experience that and be a part of that long history and tradition, and just support the Andover community.”
With the Exeter meet at home this year, runners will look to take advantage of their familiarity with the course, according to Coach Rielly.
“Exeter is the team to beat this year, and we’re lucky to see them on our home course right before the New England championship. In anticipation of a tough home meet against Exeter, we’ve been practicing hard on our course, especially in the [Cochran Bird] Sanctuary, to try to get as much home-course advantage as possible,” said Coach Rielly.
Andover will face Exeter at home this Saturday at 3:30 p.m.