Underclassmen Lead Girls Cross Country at Manchester Invitational

In a deep field of 25 teams, Andover Girls Cross Country placed 8th at the Manchester Invitational Meet. Led by Emma Hagstrom ’25, who placed 20th individually with a time of 20:55, the team’s following six finished within just over a minute of each other. 

Head Coach Keri Lambert described the difficult terrain of the course. Despite the challenges, Coach Lambert valued the team’s ability to maintain a positive mindset and support each other.

“GXC had a great day at Manchester Invitational. The course there is pretty tough due to several very steep hills, yet everyone stayed really upbeat leading up to their races, and there was just generally a great deal of joy and camaraderie among all the athletes, who seemed grateful to have the opportunity to compete at such a big invitational.” wrote Coach Lambert in an email to The Phillipian

Co-Captain Ashley Song ’23 noted the various mental obstacles she faced during the race. According to Song, a change in her mindset allowed her to persevere through the course.

“I felt proud of my work this meet, and I think it went well. I finished the course, and it happened to be a whole lot less difficult than I had imagined, which is always great. The reason for this though, is because I kept thinking, ‘I’m just going to have fun with this,’ which eased off the pressure immensely and allowed me to focus on getting through this notorious course,” wrote Song in an email to The Phillipian.

Tasha Bohorad ’26 shared a similar sentiment to Song and described the unexpected challenges she faced. According to Bohorad, the support of her teammates helped carry her throughout the race and to the finish line.

“I placed 54 out of 183 in the small school Girls Varsity race with a time of 22:20. For my first meet, the race went really well. I think the hills were less difficult than I expected them to be, but the race itself was more difficult than I expected. It was a challenge to stay focused during the entire race… I don’t think I could have pushed as hard as I did in the first or third miles if I didn’t have the support I did from my teammates,” wrote Bohorad in an email to The Phillipian.

Coach Lambert highlighted how Hagstrom’s summer training translated to success on the course. With five out of the nine competing runners being underclassmen, Coach Lambert is optimistic for the season ahead.

“Emma Hagstrom ’25 led the team with a new 5k personal best of 20:55, which really reflects the hard work she put in over the summer, when she showed outstanding dedication following a week-by-week PAXC training plan. New students Tasha Bohorad ’26 and Zoe Von Eckartsberg ’26 placed third and fourth for the team respectively, and neither had ever run a cross country 5k before,” wrote Lambert.  

The course’s steep elevation gain proved to be a significant challenge for many runners. Moving forward, Bohorad aims to work on maintaining her speed throughout the race and use hills to her advantage.

Bohorad wrote, “In the future, I plan on working on keeping a faster and more consistent pace in mile two, pushing uphills and downhills to get ahead, and trying to find people in the race to keep up with or surpass.”

Andover will race at the Northfield Mount Hermon Invitational Meet this Saturday. 

Editor’s Note: Ashley Song is an Illustration Editor for The Phillipian.