Local middle and elementary school students raced a 1-mile course this fall — all in the name of promoting physical fitness, friendly athletic competition, school spirit, sportsmanship and the joy of running.
The Andover Physical Education Department, in cooperation with the Andover High School cross-country team, encouraged boys and girls in grades four through eight to lace up their sneakers for the annual fun runs.
More than 80 students from Doherty, West and Wood Hill middle schools participated in the ninth annual middle school race on Oct. 20. Another 85 fourth- and fifth-graders from all of the elementary schools in town — Bancroft, South, Sanborn, High Plain and West Elementary — tackled the course on Nov. 7.
Andover High School cross-country coach Leo Lafond and dozens of his team members laid out the course that started and ended on the track at the high school’s Eugene V. Lovely Field and included a combination of field and road running. Team members were spread out along the course to act as guides and assist runners in completing both races. They also timed the race and recorded race results.
Separate boys and girls races were held for all grades. For the middle school runs, the top five finishing times from each school for all races were added to create an overall race score, with the highest-scoring team crowned the champion.
The Doherty Middle School team held onto the championship for the second year, with the Wood Hill Middle School team finishing second and the West Middle School team clocking in at third. The Doherty middle-schoolers were awarded the Golden Warriors Cup, which they will proudly display at their school.
Meanwhile, the fourth- and fifth-graders braved a light rain and chilly temperatures to participate in their annual race. The event again was aimed at encouraging physical activity and bringing together students from throughout town in a fun event.
Brian J. McNally, program coordinator for physical education and health education for the Andover schools, said in a release that all of the runners should be proud of their accomplishments.