Overcoming Injury and Sickness, Girls Cross Country Races Largest Roster against Exeter

Emma Hagstrom ’25 runs for the finish line.

Andover Girls Cross Country showcased improvement from its first dual meet this season against Choate, despite losing 19-40 to Phillips Exeter Academy (Exeter). The A/E rivalry, held on Exeter’s course, puts the team’s final dual meet record at 1-3. 

Out of all the meets this season, Saturday’s race featured the greatest number of healthy Andover runners toeing the line. Although they faced numerous injuries and sickness this season, the team consistently checked in on each other, building a stronger bond and sense of community, according to Amelia Vinton ’23.

“There has been a real community around those who have been injured for either the whole season or a short portion of the season. There’s been a focus on creating that kind of community and being like ‘Hey, how’s it going? How’s your injury?’ Working with other people to get through injuries together. That’s been a really powerful part of the team. You work out together, you get better together, but also when you get injured, you’re not in it alone. Having that emphasis on recovering together and drawing on strength from your teammate, just as you would if you were running in a workout or a race,” said Vinton.

Leading up to the race, the team focused on leaning onto each other for support while running. Lily Williamson ’25 highlighted the team’s use of the phrase, “spark it,” as a way to motivate one another. 

“We were working on a lot of group running sort of things. [The coaches] would put us into groups and give us paces to do certain workouts in…. We learned how to run in different packs, and use our teammates nearby to motivate us to go faster. It turned into something, [so] that now, whenever we pass our teammates, we say ‘spark it’ as a way to build motivation for ourselves and our teammates,” said Williamson.

The historic A/E rivalry added a layer of competition and excitement to the team’s final dual meet of the season. In her first-ever A/E race, Tasha Bohorad ’26 enjoyed the lively and positive atmosphere, even though the team was away at Exeter. 

“The energy was definitely there, a lot from Exeter adults. They made it really exciting. Everyone was just really excited to race. Especially post-race, a lot of people were talking about A/E and how good the race went. Even if you didn’t race well, the environment was really nice, and everyone was cheering for each other,” said Bohorad.

Williamson highlighted Bohorad’s contributions to the high energy of Saturday’s meet, supporting her teammates immediately after finishing her own race. Williamson reflected on how Bohorad’s enthusiastic cheering was what helped her cross the finish line. 

“[Bohorad has] been a really good source of energy on the team. She’s a Freshman, and she’s actually one of the most energetic and dedicated people I’ve ever met. She finished the race and immediately after catching her breath and handing in her popsicle stick when she finished, went out to start cheering for other people. She was the person I heard and saw when I was finishing. She’s definitely been such a positive presence on the team, and she’s been doing that at every meet. It really stood out at this meet, though,” said Willamson. 

Girls Cross Country will finish out its season at the NEPSAC Division I Cross Country Championships hosted at St. Paul’s on Saturday.