Fall Sports Girls Cross Country Sports

Girls Cross Country Beats St. Paul’s Despite Unfamiliar Race Plan

This season is Andover Girls Cross Country’s first year with its new head coach, Keri Lambert.

With Charlotte Whitehurst ’22 placing first and Tiffany Tang ’22 and Caroline Empey ’22 following closely behind in second and third place, respectively, Andover Girls Cross Country beat St. Paul’s 19-40. The team’s record now stands at 2-0.


Even with the quick switch from mental thinking to physical activity, Vanessa Fan ’23 did not find changing her mindset from completing the PSAT to running in a race on the same day as difficult as she thought it would be.


Fan said, “At first, I thought it would be pretty stressful because you’re going from something that’s very mental in the morning to something that’s very physical in the afternoon. But it was also nice because it was a chance to take my mind off of all the work I had to do, and all I can do is just focus on running in the moment.”


According to Elizabeth Zhang ’22 and Empey, the changes in the lineup caused the team’s usual strategy of pack running to be more difficult as the players had become so accustomed to running with the same people


Empey added, “This week was a bit of a different race plan. [Patricia Tran ’24,] the girl I normally run with, wasn’t running this week, and so our coach, Coach Lambert, made a bit of a different plan for this week. Charlotte, Tiffany, and I, because we’re the top three runners for Andover this weekend… we kind of did a tempo first mile, we did a slower pace than we normally go out in, we kind of let the St. Paul’s girls lead the first mile. At the mile mark, we just sped up, we switched gears. We really focused on the middle miles and we ran closer to our race paces during the second and third mile. We ended up finishing one, two, and three, so it was good for Andover.”


Fan also notes that St. Paul’s course was much different than Andover’s, which benefited some members of the Andover team, while others felt more comfortable in the team’s home course.


“It’s very different from the home course. [On] the home course in Andover, we have a super big hill that we go up. This one was more flat compared to that, but there’s a bunch of little bumps throughout it. So, sometimes you’d be going super down and you get some nice acceleration and you might have a tiny hill after that even. Some people enjoyed it a lot because it was super flat. I personally still enjoy the home course more, I’m just more comfortable with that one.”


Though the team’s plan was executed well and proved to work out well, Zhang looks to the future, saying that the team needs to focus on its health, whether it be mental or physical, especially during this time of year.


“I think [the team can improve by] just being more careful with our health. Of course, that’s a hard order because we’re coming out of midterms week and not everyone is getting a lot of sleep. Also there’s this campus cold going around. So, not all of our racers are at like 100 percent. But, we have lives outside of cross country, so I guess like trying to take care of our health especially as midterms and the cold come around.” Zhang said.


Girls Cross Country’s next race will be at home on Saturday against Northfield Mount Hermon.