Limited by Inexperience and Injury, Girls Cross Country Places Fourth At NMH Invitational

Emma Hagstrom ’25 placed seventh individually in a field of five teams with a time of 21:17, leading Andover Girls Cross Country to a fourth place finish at the Northfield Mount Hermon (NMH) Invitational on Saturday.

With only a select few runners participating in the Manchester Invitational last week, the NMH Invitational provided the whole team a chance to race. According to Co-Captain Ashley Song ’23, the team’s primary goal was to get a feel for competing and persevere through NMH’s difficult course.

“I think the overall attitude is that this is a first meet and NMH is really hilly. It’s a relatively tough course, so I think finishing was a big win for a lot of people, especially since this is our first full team meet, because our first one was Manchester last weekend…. So I think for a lot of the team, it was just finishing this course or this race… not checking off, but just finishing your first meet of the season, first 5k of the season…. [Running in packs] was a goal for this meet, but also a goal in general, to kind of find comfort while you’re running through the people around you and knowing that you can do it because the people around you can,” said Song. 

Many runners were unable to compete due to injuries, and others faced challenges overcoming the mental and physical battles of their first 5k race, according to Tasha Bohorad ’26. Despite competing shorthanded, Bohorad applauded the team’s efforts.

Bohorad said, “I think our team did really well in the invitational. A lot of girls were injured, so it was pretty tough not having everyone there that we could have had. But with the people we had, I think we raced pretty well…. Most of the team is underclassmen, so a lot of people haven’t run a high school 5k, which made it difficult. But overall, I think everyone did really well.”

Bohorad highlighted the effort and execution of Kendall Toth ’24, specifically praising her tenacity and perseverance. Toth has recently returned from a back injury and is readjusting to the demanding nature of the sport.

“Definitely Kendall [stood out to me]. It was her first race back from injury and she has been recovering and really pushing hard and practicing. She’s my running buddy, so I run with her all the time. I’m really happy that she got to run. She had a great time,” said Bohorad. 

According to Song, the team needs to work on maintaining concentration moving forward. Song emphasized team focus and being mentally present during practice and prior to races as key areas for improvement. 

Song said, “I think something Coach Lambert noted was near the beginning of the race… where we got distracted a lot [on the course walk], and we just needed to focus more. Something Coach Richie said was, just being in the moment and trying to work towards the whole team being on the same wavelength in a sense, and not having everyone distracted doing their own thing. So I guess a big thing is mindset, and just focusing more on that moment, and not getting carried away by other things.”

Andover Girls Cross Country will face Choate away on Saturday.

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