Andover Boys Indoor Track and Field hosted over 20 schools and 250 athletes on Saturday for the New England Preparatory School Track Association (NEPSTA) All-Comers meet.
To begin the unscored meet, Andover’s Distance Medley Relay (DMR) team ran a time of 10:49.30. This time qualified the team for the Rising Stars division for the New Balance Nationals Indoor meet, which will be held in mid-March. The team included Max Huang ’24, Andrew Wen ’23, Oliver Buckhoff ’24, and Tam Gavenas ’25.
Henry He ’26 felt that Saturday’s meet was the ideal way to prepare the team for its final full-team meet against Phillips Exeter Academy (Exeter) on February 15. He was impressed with how well the team fared against such strong competition.
“It was a really good meet. It’s our last meet before [Andover/Exeter]…and I think it’s the second-to-last meet for most people, said He. He added, “Overall, I think we got pretty good results, especially against so many people… There were 21 teams, 200 plus people, and I think we did really well. We placed in a lot of different events.”
In the 55-Meter Dash, Russel Robinson ’25 placed eighth with a time of 6.88 seconds, breaking the Lower class record. Co-Captain Charlie Benjamin ’23 described the highly-competitive atmosphere that was provided by the vast number of teams at the meet.
“It was definitely one of our more high-energy meets, only because there were around 20 different schools that came. Usually, we have at most six. There were some really special performances, not necessarily all by PA athletes either, which made the competition a little more fierce. But, that just made it more fun,” said Benjamin.
Despite the split in event groups and the large number of athletes on Andovers team, the team’s leaders have focused efforts on building team community through “meet buddy” groups and combined warmups, according to He. He believes that the relationships formed within the team help athletes to perform better through continual support during the competition.
“As a team, I think overall we’re a really well-balanced team this year. We have really high performers on both the sprints side and the distance side, as well as many field events… It’s just that we’re really well rounded, and that we also support each other a lot… You know, we do everything together. There’s a lot of team bonding activities that we do,” said He.
Placing fourth in the 400-Meter Dash, Emerson Kington ’24 values the effort that his teammates have put in throughout the season. He feels that the hard work team members have put into practice is beginning to pay off, especially as the team approaches championship meets in the latter part of its season.
“I know that we have a lot of very hard workers, and I think there’s a lot of people that really want to improve, and we definitely see it come into fruition in our meets. There’s a lot of dedicated runners and I think it’s really nice to see that,” said Kington.
Benjamin noted that an increase in injuries has plagued the team, resulting in fewer numbers at practices and meets. He hopes that the team will be able to get back to full strength in time for the Andover/Exeter meet.
“The most important thing right now is just staying healthy. So, we’ve had a lot of injuries recently, and it’s something you can see in practice, or at least, I can see during warm ups because when I’m leading warm ups I get to have a good visual of everyone who’s there, and recently the crowd has been a little thinner,” said Benjamin.
Andover Boys Indoor Track and Field will compete against Exeter away on Wednesday.
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