Cheers roared out from all his teammates as Daniel Bae ’23 crossed the finish line in the boys 300-meter race, edging out the previous record of 37.04 seconds set by Alex Fleury ’20 by 0.02 seconds for a time of 37.02. Securing a total of 100 points as a team, Andover defeated Governor’s and Landmark by landslide, the other teams scoring 13 and 7, respectively.
According to Matthew Ottenbreit ’22, there was some initial controversy as to whether or not Bae broke the record due to how close it was.
“That was a really exciting race to watch, and everyone was running around checking if he had actually broken the record because it was so close,” said Ottenbreit.
Without spectators being allowed at the meet, the team was propelled to cheer on its teammates more than normal to make up for the lack of spirit at the meet, said Jaeyong Shim ’23.
“[Head Coach Keri Lambert] talked about the fact that we weren’t going to have any spectators, even from our Andover community, so as a team, we really have to be there for each other, especially when we were running the relays, everytime they passed by our section we were always cheering for them, and when I was running I definitely felt that. The atmosphere itself was different because there were a lot less people, but when I was running personally, the noise and our team spirit was still there. The only thing that changed was that we didn’t have any audience, but we were cheering as teammates and the audience,” said Shim.
According to Matt Leonard ’24, nerves were one of the challenges that many athletes faced, especially because it was the first meet for several.
Leonard said, “A couple people were a little nervous as it was their first meet. What typically happens is that our coach will let our experienced jumpers jump during the first meet of the year, but he’ll keep the newer jumpers from going just so they can get more experience under their belt before they jump in a meet setting. I know a couple of people were nervous, but because there were so many of us and it was this comfortable setting, they didn’t feel too uncomfortable after they got in their groove.”
The teams next meet will serve as a sign for how it will perform in the long run, especially because it is coming up against some of the top teams, according to Ottenbreit.
“I know that people on the team and lots of relay groups have their eyes on school and class records going into this season, and I anticipate that many of them will be broken this season. Also in terms of hopes for the near future, we are competing against almost 20 schools this Saturday in the NEPSTA meet, so that’s going to be some of the steepest competition we’ll see this season, and I think it’s gonna be a really good indicator of how we’re gonna measure up at the championship,” said Ottenbreit.
Andover’s next meet is at home on Saturday.