Girls Cross Country Defeats St. Paul’s, Falls Short to Austin Preparatory School

Runners take off the start line, beginning their ascent up the Great Lawn.

Four Andover runners placed in the top ten out of a field of nearly 50 as Girls Cross Country competed against St. Paul’s and Austin Preparatory School (Austin Prep) in its only home meet of the season. The team defeated St. Paul’s by nine points but fell short to Austin Prep by five, bringing its dual meet record to 1-2.

According to third place finisher Emma Hagstrom ’25, many Andover parents brought strong and supportive energy to the race. Additionally, the team made sure to recognize the Seniors in their last home meet at Andover.

“The energy was super high going into Family Weekend and knowing that we had everyone supporting Andover and all the people really helped us do our best. For the Senior meet, we had posters and it was super fun to reflect back on all the fun memories we had with our Seniors. Celebrating them was super fun just for the meet,” said Hagstrom.

Besides the energy of the spectators, the energy of the team itself was crucial to the outcome of the race, according to sixth place finisher Kendall Toth ’24. Toth emphasized the importance of balancing fun and focus. 

“[One of the team’s strengths is] community. We definitely do it for each other, we push each other. The love that we have [for each other], and the love we have for the sport really helps us. We run a lot better when we have fun and this team really has a lot of fun,” said Toth.

According to Carol Gómez ’23, the start of the race was nerve wracking, but as the race settled down, opportunities to pass fellow racers appeared. One landmark she used was Heartbreak Hill, which served as a signal for her to begin speeding up. 

“Definitely, the start was really stressful because everyone was going really fast. Also, I think Heartbreak Hill was a crucial moment for me because that was when I started going faster for the third mile, and I passed some of the other racers,” said Gómez.

Leading up to the race, the team worked on getting familiar with the course. Seventh place finisher Tasha Bohorad ’26 stressed the importance of getting a feel for her race pace prior to the meet.

“We ran the course for every workout this week, so we knew it really well. I think what stuck with me is that we did 1,000 [meters] at the end of the course and the beginning of the course, so we knew what that 5k pace felt like, we knew the pace numbers. That really helped me in the training this week,” said Bohorad.

After falling short to Austin Prep, the team is looking to use the loss as motivation to improve heading into its next races. According to Toth, although the team won’t race against Austin Prep again this season, the loss is more of a reason to push harder against other teams in the future.

“Austin Prep has a really good program, and unfortunately we won’t see them later on in the season, but we know that we’re coming for them next year, and we’re going to use that as motivation to run faster next week against other teams, and just use that to fuel our fire that we got going on,” said Toth.

Moving forward, the team hopes to improve its middle mile. According to Bohorad, despite running well at the beginning of the race, one of the areas that the team fell short in was the middle and tail-ends of the race.

“In the future, I think everyone had really good kicks, so maybe reevaluating paces. Seeing what we can do in the middle mile. Coach Lambert always says, ‘push the middle mile,’ so seeing if we can go faster and then kick a little harder at the end, as well,” said Bohorad.

Girls Cross Country will race against Northfield Mount Hermon, Deerfield Academy, and Phillips Exeter Academy (Exeter) this Saturday at Exeter.