Myra Bhathena ’22 crossed the finish line in the girls 55-meter hurdles in 8.86 seconds at Andover Indoor Track & Field’s annual ninth and tenth grade meet against Phillips Exeter Academy on Wednesday. With this time, Bhathena broke the 55-meter hurdles school record.
At the meet, which has yet to be scored, Andover was successful even without its Uppers and Seniors. According to Kennedy Smith ’22 and Ablah Siddiq ’22, the meet was a great chance for those new to the sport to become more comfortable with their events.
Smith said, “This was the [annual ninth and tenth grade] meet against Exeter, and I think for a bunch of the freshmen, this was a really important meet for them, and a lot of them are making good gains.”
“I think [the meet] was a good chance for the runners who aren’t that experienced in track to gain experience and to see what they are capable of,” added Siddiq.
According to Charlotte Whitehurst ’22, the team’s success at the meet demonstrates its promising potential and depth.
Whitehurst said, “I think my major takeaway [from the meet] is that the future of the program looks really bright. There are a lot of ninth and tenth graders, and they make up the majority of the team. We definitely crushed this meet, so we have lots of pride in what we did today, and we also have lots of hope for the coming seasons.”
In addition to the team’s impressive performance, both Siddiq and Whitehurst believe that the team’s camaraderie and support for one another were two of their most notable strengths.
Siddiq said, “I feel like as a team, and particularly for relays, we were very good. There is no bad team mentality or anything. I feel like our teamwork is especially strong this year because we have a lot of newer people. It’s very supportive and non-hierarchical, and it’s not seniority-based, so I feel like we have good team spirit.”
“I think one thing that we do really well is cheering each other on, especially at the end. We bring our energy to every event, which is great,” added Whitehurst.
According to Smith and Izzy Alvarez ’23, the meet stood out due to the excitement behind the Andover-Exeter rivalry.
Alvarez said, “Andover-Exeter is obviously a huge rivalry, but for me, what differentiated this meet from the rest was the energy. I think the energy was very high, and everyone was looking forward to having a great meet.”
“I think there was more giddiness and anxiety because it’s [the ninth and tenth grade meet against Exeter], and the runners are the least experienced on the team,” said Smith.
According to Whitehurst, the team’s eagerness and anticipation made the meet a memorable one.
Whitehurst said, “There was just lots of energy and lots of excitement and definitely higher stakes. People got a lot of [personal records], so that was great.”
Andover’s full team will be back at the Snyder Center on Wednesday to compete against Exeter.