In its first dual loss of the season, Andover Girls Cross Country fell to Phillips Exeter Academy 25-33.
Although this was a disappointing loss for Andover, the team still stands at an impressive 3-1 record in dual meets and has demonstrated immense growth in many aspects throughout the season, according to Izzy Alvarez Martinez ’23.
“I’m so proud of the team. We all have individually, mentally, and physically grown a lot, and together we’ve also grown. I think that everyone is so close, and that supportive and encouraging environment really helps,” said Alvarez Martinez.
Despite losing the meet, Andover’s runners paced themselves particularly well due to knowledge of the hills on the course, according to Natasha Muromcew ’22, who set a personal record against Exeter with her 19:55 finish, just one second behind Exeter’s first place runner.
Muromcew said, “I think that we all knew what to expect going into the race and Exeter didn’t, I think that was really helpful. All of the Exeter girls went out way too fast because they didn’t know [about] Log Cabin Hill and Heartbreak Hill, and they didn’t know how bad it would be.”
Andover put forth a strong fight against Exeter, showing the potential the team has to place highly at Interschols, according to Muromcew and Alvarez Martinez.
Muromcew said, “I feel like deep down, we knew that Exeter is very good, and it was somewhat up in the air, but we didn’t think we were going to win and that’s okay … Exeter is one of the best teams, they’re probably going to win Interschols. The fact that we didn’t beat them doesn’t upset me. We still had a really good race, and I’m glad that we beat the other teams [we faced this season] because that means that we might get second or third at Interschols.”
Alvarez Martinez added, “I think the team put out one of our strongest performances this season. Everyone was so strong, and at the last home meet, we saw how all of [this] season’s training came together. We put out an amazing race.”
Going into the week before Interschols, Andover is focused on continuing its normal practice schedule. Because Andover raced at Northfield Mount Hermon School (NMH) earlier in the season, it is entering Interschols with a prior knowledge of the course. In addition, the similarity between Andover’s course and NMH’s course will help give Andover an edge, according to Alvarez Martinez.
“I think that they’re similar in the sense that you start on a flat field and then you run into the woods, do a loop of that, then re-run the field to the finish. I do think NMH has more of an incline than Andover, so they have steeper hills where we have more rolling hills,” said Alvarez Martinez.
Andover will race at NMH this Saturday for its end of the season Interschols race.