In his first cross country meet at Andover, Max Boesch-Powers ’24 was able to pass the finish line with the help and encouragement of Ethan Qi ’23. On Saturday, Andover Cross Country raced in at the Manchester Invitational, where it placed 8th out of 32 teams.
Captain Matthew Ottenbreit ’22 attributed the meet’s success to the new faces on the team.
“I’m very happy with how the meet went… we could not have asked for a better race for our return to competition after two years, and I think it was especially successful because we had so many runners who were competing for the first time, so we had some really good performances from our younger runners,” said Ottenbreit.
According to Head Coach Patrick Rielly, both the new and returning students have been able to bond through the long-distance runs during after-school practice sessions.
Coach Rielly said, “I think [the team bonding] has been great so far, there’s so much great energy on the team, we have 55 total runners, many of whom are new to not only the team but to the school, and so I think that one of the best things about running distance is that you get to go out and run with your friends after school, so I think I’m seeing a lot of that, like new friendships and rekindled friendships.”
Running in packs was an area of focus that they worked towards in training sessions over the past few weeks, and according to Ottenbreit, this emphasis on collective running was one of the biggest positives he saw during the meet.
“I think something that worked out really well at this meet was seeing everyone race in the same packs that we practiced [in] during our workouts in the week before. It’s really helpful for runners to be able to run with each other and face off with each other during a meet, and I think I was really happy to see that follow through from practice into the meets,” said Ottenbreit.
Although some parts of training translate directly into the meet, Boesch-Powers believes that he can also improve by believing in his potential development and future growth through training.
“I think I can do a better job at pushing myself in the middle of the race. Occasionally, I’ll try to conserve energy and I don’t really want to make a move in the middle [because] I’m kind of nervous for the ending, where I’m afraid I’m going to just run out of energy and slow down or even just stop because it’s that tiring. But I think I need to have more faith in my training, and in my teammates because they’re all great,” said Boesch-Powers.
According to Ottenbreit, this meet was a “rebirth” after the team was rekindled and a reminder of team unity after two years of no competition.
Ottenbreit said, “I almost see this meet as like a ‘rebirth’ of our team, after two years of no competitions, to see how much of the people, Seniors and Uppers, have progressed since they were Lowers, but also to see all these super talented new runners. I see that as a rebirth for our programme and definitely a great opportunity this season to lay the foundations again.”
Andover will have their next meet at the NMH Invitational on October 10th.
Editor’s Note: Ethan Qi ’23 is a Sports Editor for The Phillipian.