Despite the perfect fall racing conditions on Saturday and securing the first-place finisher in the race, Andover Boys Cross Country suffered a 24-31 loss to St. Paul’s. The team’s dual meet record now stands at 1-1.
The team didn’t dwell over the loss; rather, the excitement from the newer runners competing in their first away meet radiated throughout the team and turned the meet into a fun bonding experience, according to Nolan Goldthwaite ’22.
“Before the race, we were all really excited. For some of us, this was our first away meet… and after on the bus, it was really fun; we kept our traditions alive, and we drank lots of chocolate milk… Unfortunately, we didn’t have some of our runners due to injuries, and some people were sick… but I feel like even though we lost, we still had fun, and that’s what I love about cross country. Even if you win or lose, it’s still fun,” said Goldthwaite.
In addition, Isaac Heitmann ’22 believes the combination of cooler weather and colorful trees lifted the mood of the entire team.
Heitmann said, “Our energy was pretty positive, both before and after the race. I can personally attribute that to the weather and scenery… St. Paul’s School in the fall is a beautiful place owing to their foliage, and I think the scenery put us in a cheerful mood.”
Going into the race, Andover wanted to run near the St. Paul’s runners, as they knew their home course best, according to Luke Williamson ’25.
“We weren’t looking to set PRs, but we wanted to beat St. Paul’s… That was the main goal. The strategy was to stick with the St. Paul’s guys because they knew the course, and don’t let them box you out. They know how to run [the course], and [we wanted] to run with them the way they were running it,” said Williamson.
Despite the attempt to run alongside other St. Paul’s runners, Max Boesch-Powers ’24 noticed that the team was still outpaced by its opponents due to the unfamiliarity of the technical course.
“They definitely performed better… I think the course was extremely technical, and St. Paul’s really took advantage of pacing themselves well and really pushing themselves, and we lost in that regard. It was definitely a good course to have a home course advantage on,” said Boesch-Powers.
According to Heitmann and Goldthwaite, pack running and maintaining focus allowed the team to support one another during the race, especially at times when the cheering of spectators and competition from nearby opponents were absent.
Heitmann said, “Our goal going into the race was, as always, to run our best and show good sportsmanship, especially since it was parent’s weekend over at St. Paul’s… This time, however, Coach Rielly put special emphasis on running together in groups. Coach Domina also gave us some advice, saying that we should stay focused during the race, especially during the wooded sections of the course where spectator support was absent.”
Boys Cross Country will look to capitalize on its home course advantage as Andover welcomes Northfield Mount Hermon on Saturday.