According to Harrison Wilson ’20 and Justin Hardy ’23, Ratcliffe’s record-breaking finish was the highlight of the race.
“[Ratcliffe] broke the previous school record set by an Andover student so his name is going to be up on the board. It’s amazing that I’ll be able to come back and see… my classmate’s name, class of ’20, up on the board,” said Wilson.
Hardy added, “Even though [Ratcliffe] did end up coming in second, [it] was amazing. And then our captain, Alex Fleury [’20], he was right behind Chris. He PR’d so he had a really good race too… We had three runners come in sub-[seventeen minutes] which is really amazing.”
According to Wilson, the practices leading up to the race included both physical and mental exercises in an effort to help the team best prepare for the competition.
“[Head Coach Patrick Reilly] really motivated us throughout the last week of training; he knew that Exeter is our rival. We did workouts and sessions that were preparing us for this day, very targeted work. We were in the sanctuary on Wednesday and we did a bunch of mental preparation and specific pointers about racing Exeter,” said Wilson.
Exeter proved to be one of the toughest teams Andover faced this season, according to Ellerman Mateo ’21.
“I would say we haven’t gone against a team [as] strong [as] Exeter. We did see them at [the] Bobcat Invitational, but that was the beginning of the season … They are a very powerful team. They showed us how the best team in New England runs. They dominated us, but it was a great experience running with these people.” said Mateo.
The team looks to use this loss as fuel to win at Interschols and have a particularly focused practice week, according to Wilson.
Wilson said, “Our greatest strength was fighting through to the end. Everyone finished the race, everyone got through, it was quite a bit of struggle to get to our final point but we got through it. Now we’re just going to take what we’ve learned, take the pain of our unfortunate loss with us into this weekend and really fuel our last week of training so we can tighten up things that have been a little loose and hopefully put something together next weekend.”
Andover will compete at the New England Championship Race, Interschols, next Saturday at Northfield Mount Hermon for its last meet of the season.