The Andover High fall sports season left Golden Warrior fans with plenty to be excited about, from record-setting performances to state title runs.
And as the season comes to a close, one Warrior team that showed it should be ready for a breakthrough next fall is the Andover girls cross country team.
The Golden Warriors return four strong runners and have others who should solidify the unit in the fifth position. They finished fifth at the Division 1 Eastern Mass. meet and only failed to advance to All-States because of a technicality.
Leading the way is Sarah Cain, a rising sophomore who was the team’s No. 1 runner most of the season and ran an 11:57.48 2-mile as a freshman. She won two dual meets this fall and reached her goal of reaching All-State as an individual, finishing 15th overall at the Eastern Mass. meet.
“I’m pretty happy with my season and got the goal I wanted,” said Cain. “It was kind of disappointing that the team didn’t make it but hopefully next year will be our year.”
Joining Cain at All-States as a Warrior individual was junior Grace O’Hara, who moved over from soccer after having success in winter track. After a period of adjustment, she became a strong No. 2 runner.
“It was a big change at first but I got used to it (longer distance) after a couple of races,” said O’Hara. “Lacrosse is my favorite sport but I’ve learned to love the longer distance.”
Also back will be sophomores Emma Griffin and Sarah Sullivan. Griffin showed a lot of improvement during the season and Sullivan showed tremendous potential, winning a dual meet at Haverhill and finishing as the team’s No. 1 runner in the MVC meet.
If Sullivan can overcome occasional bouts with exercise-induced asthma, she could provide a very strong top group.
“This is a very young and talented team,” said Andover coach Brenda Clark-Warne. “The improvement they have seen since their freshman year is phenomenal. They are just learning how good they can be as a team.
“I also have a young freshman, Sophia Armstriong, who placed seventh for the team at state who will help to round out the top five next year.”
And, said O’Hara, “We have some good freshmen coming in next year who will really help. We think we’ll be pretty good.”
That would certainly be welcome news. It’d be great to get back to the days when local teams, like for years the Methuen boys and Haverhill girls, challenged for Eastern Mass. titles.
Comeau toughs it out
The thousands in attendance for Andover football’s Division 1 North final against Everett saw quad-captain Mikey Comeau once again lead the Golden Warrior defense onto the field as he had done each of the past two seasons.
What most fans did not know, was where he had been hours before.
Battling a nasty illness, Comeau spent the Saturday night before the game in the hospital on an IV, a routine he had gone through multiple times.
Just hours before the game, doctors cleared Comeau to play in the game, and he headed directly to Everett.
Despite still feeling ill, the son of champion Warrior track coach Peter Comeau led Andover with eight tackles vs. the Crimson Tide. He finished the year with 63 tackles, fourth on the Warriors, and 2.5 sacks.