Tam Gavenas ’25 set the 9th grade Andover course record in Andover Boys Cross Country’s first home cross country meet since November 2019. Alongside Gavenas, Aidan Lin ’23 secured a personal best time on the course. With the efforts of the entire team, Andover was able to come out victorious in a 32-23 win against Choate.
Race winner Gavenas expressed that the home course advantage is not ‘make or break’ and believes that the team can create energy and support each other anywhere it goes.
Gavenas said, “it’s all about the team’s energy, and no matter what, our team will be supportive, [so] shout out to the girls’ team for supporting us on ‘Heartbreak Hill.’ I think [the energy] would be the same at Choate, but running here, we’re used to this as we practice here every day.”
According to Captain Matthew Ottenbreit ’22 and Coach Patrick Reilly, running together in packs proved to be a helpful strategy that transferred from practice into the meet.
Ottenbreit said, “We worked on a strategy called pack running. [It is] something that we had been working on all week. When we work out, we make sure to pace with someone else. During the hard parts of the course like the hills and the sanctuary, it is important to keep pace with someone else to stay motivated.”
“So we typically have in a workout or a meet a few things to keep in mind. This week the phrase was pack running. You’ll have teammates in a race with the same abilities as you, and if you see them make a move, you move with them and if they struggle, cheer them on. [We run in packs] to support each other throughout the race,” Coach Reilly said.
Despite the spectacular races run by certain individuals, the win was by no means a solo effort. Coach Reilly acknowledged how many runners participated and all contributed to the win.
Coach Reilly said, “[Having] really positive energy [was a driving force in the win,] and normally in away meets we are limited to the number of seats on the bus. But this meet was home so we were able to have all runners who were healthy to compete, and there was some nervous excitement throughout the race.”
Andover will be hosting the “New England’s” this season which only happens at Andover once every ten years, but for now, the team looks ahead to next week where it will be on the road facing off against St. Paul’s.