Andover Boys Cross Country will travel to Northfield Mount Hermon for its championship meet, the Nepsta Division I championship race, this Saturday.
Andover raced at NMH for the NMH Invitational previously this season, allowing the team to gain some extra insight about the course, according to Chris Ratcliffe PG’20.
“We were definitely very thorough in paying attention to the small details of the course. For example, when we raced there the first time, we warmed up on the course, we raced on the course, and then we ran on the course after just to sort of remind ourselves of different aspects of the course and so that we could keep that with us when we train in the future,” Ratcliffe said.
This prior race experience has impacted the team’s training, allowing coaches to focus workouts based on the specifics of the course, according to Ratcliffe.
“We understand that it is going to be a very tough [and] hilly course, and so we have been training for the hills and trying to get used to… [them],” added Ratcliffe.
According to Isaac Heitmann ’22, this week of training will not focus as much on mileage, but rather building even stronger packs, since the team has already set a strong foundation through its training during the season.
“The biggest difference in our training is probably a shift towards more strength building as opposed to endurance, as we don’t need to increase the distances we’re running this close to the end of the season. I’d say that we are currently trying to capitalize and improve upon the things that we are already doing well, such as working in ‘packs’ (groups during the race) and leaving it all on the field when we run,” wrote Heitmann in an email to The Phillipian.
The team will have seven runners in the Varsity race and 12 runners in the JV race. Heitmann believes that the team has a lot of strength in its top runners to place well this weekend.
“I think our team is feeling pretty hopeful about the upcoming championship. With nine of our runners’ times under 18 minutes for a 5k and two with their times under 16 minutes, we’re in a pretty strong position. But I think we’re also a bit sad because so many of our team members are seniors, and I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say that we’re going to miss having them on our team” wrote Heitmann.