11/4 – Andover: 35, Exeter: 23
Although Andover Boys Cross Country fell to Phillips Exeter Academy (Exeter) on its home course on Saturday, the team’s top seven runners all ran under 17 minutes for the first time in history, and the full team totaled 41 personal record performances.
Tam Gavenas ’25 shattered the home course school record with a time of 15:09 on Saturday, surpassing his previous record-setting best of 15:30. Despite running under the all-time course record of 15:19 set by Northfield Mount Hermon’s Alex Ehrenthal ’20, Gavenas was outrun by Exeter’s Byron Grevious ’24 in the same race. Grevious furthered the record to 15:05.
The team worked hard in practices leading up to the meet and showcased its efforts through its personal times, ranging from five-second to three-minute improvements. Captain Avin Ramratnam ’24 credited the team’s success as a culmination of its work throughout the season.
“Over the course of the season, we’ve been really dedicated to the program, to the team, and to our training, and that reflected a lot in the individual times,” said Ramratnam.
The team prepared in the weeks leading up to the meet by establishing tangents and sightlines that would contribute to the team’s tactics. Tenth-place finisher Jakob Kuelps ’25 explained that the team referred to its knowledge of the course to make specific moves against Exeter.
“[Head] Coach [Patrick] Rielly emphasized a lot that we just have to run those tangents and make sure we’re running the least distance possible. That’s the biggest advantage we can get with the home course, but it also helped knowing when to attack, knowing when to pull back, and I think that was another tactical advantage we had against Exeter,” said Kuelps.
Ramratnam noted that Exeter’s tactics greatly differed from Andover’s, where Exeter’s top five runners went out hard from the gun in a tight pack. In response to Exeter’s strategy, Andover worked to keep its composure and remained confident in its strategies.
“It was definitely a challenge trying to accommodate for the fact that Exeter has a very different race strategy than us, but something that we took away was that we have to trust in our training and trust in our race plan regardless of what the other team does, and if we trust in our plan then we can execute properly, and we have chance to win at Interschols [the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council Championships],” said Ranratnam.
According to Luke Williamson ’25, who finished in ninth place, Andover was motivated by the energy of its supporters and runners. Andover/Exeter marked the last home race of the season for the whole team. For the Seniors not traveling to Interschols, it was also their last time competing for Andover.
“[The race is] big, it gets you going, and we had people cheering loudly. Everyone was hype. I think that just makes you want to run faster. Everyone just took that [energy] and ran with it,” said Williamson.
Andover remains hopeful as they look forward to the Interschols at Loomis Chaffee (Loomis). Kuelps acknowledged that despite the loss, the impressive results of the dual meet allowed the athletes to remain optimistic about a win at the upcoming championship.
Kuelps said, “We are racing over at Loomis, another fast course, so it will be great to run over there. I think we are just going to bottle up the loss and try harder and use that furiosity to win.”
Andover Boys Cross Country will compete at Interschols on Saturday at Loomis.