Tam Gavenas ’25 strode through the final 200-meter stretch of the Northfield Mount Hermon (NMH) Invitational with a 21-second lead ahead of second place, finishing the five-kilometer race in 16:48, the second fastest time run by a Junior on the course. Despite securing the first place spot in the boys varsity race, Andover finished third out of four teams.
Missing two Senior runners due to injuries, the team saw impressive performances from the lowerclassmen on the team, according to Captain Matthew Ottenbreit ’22.
Ottenbreit said, “In terms of how this one went, we were missing two of our Senior runners, [Isaac Heitmann ’22] and [Jack Wilcox ’22], due to injuries… I think it’d be wrong if I didn’t mention Tam’s performance because Tam, one of the [Juniors] on the team, won the whole Invitational I think by 20 seconds, I can’t confirm that. He definitely got first, so that’s really representing our team well. I also think [Luke Williamson ’25] and [Luke Francis ’25], the other two [Juniors], got second and third for us actually.”
Constantine Krenteras ’24 noted his excitement to see the Juniors excel in the race and optimism surrounding the future of the team as the season progresses.
“I think most of all, my impression from this meet is that we saw some really great performances from our [Juniors]. Our top three racers were all [Juniors]. So that makes me really excited to see where our team will go in the future as they grow older and get faster,” said Krenteras.
According to Luke Williamson ’25, the team ran well despite only having one person with experience on the course.
“I think we ran pretty well… We’re a pretty new team though; only one person on varsity had run the course before; so that probably took away some speed. I personally am not great at going out fast. I was last at the beginning for Andover, and slowly I worked my way up to second, so I need to learn how to get going a little better. On the other hand, it’s possible that other people go out too fast,” wrote Williamson in an email to The Phillipian.
With multiple runners surpassing opponents in the final leg of the race, the team saw impressive finishing efforts but needs to focus on starting the race more conservatively moving forward, according to Max Gomez ’23.
Gomez said, “I think our finishes were really good. Everybody was passing a bunch of kids at the end, that’s something we’re really good at. I think something we can definitely work on is pacing. We usually start out pretty fast and we lose a lot of steam on the second mile, but other than that I thought it was pretty solid.”
Ottenbreit shared a similar sentiment to Gomez, noting the difficulty of the course and the quick pace to start the race.
“NMH definitely has a notoriously challenging course. I think, again, it’s really good to have these challenging courses early in the season… For me, this was my third time racing it, so I knew what I was expecting, but for a lot of the guys it was their first time on the course, so it’s always a big challenge. I think strategically, we started out the race a bit faster than most of the guys on the NMH team, which isn’t always a good thing because you always want to look at what the home team is doing and see how they’re pacing and go based off of that because they know their course better. But, I think everyone did a really good job staying in the zone on the hills and in the woods in the second and third mile, so I’m really proud of how everyone did and the effort that they put in,” said Ottenbreit.
Andover will host Choate on Saturday for its first home meet of the season.