Big Red travels to Andover as rivals reunite

Record setting swims highlight renewal of oldest prep rivalry. 

Brian Muldoon
February 24, 2024
Phillips Exeter Academy Athletics

Laurie Chung scored 11 points for girls basketball in the Big Red and Big Blue showdown. 

With throngs of Exeter's and Andover’s most passionate and supportive students, alumni, family and friends lining the sidelines, the 2024 winter edition of Big Red vs. Big Blue took place on the Andover campus Saturday. Record-setting performances in the pool were the highlight of the day for Big Red, while the results on the ice and on the hardwood tilted in Andover’s favor.

Exeter girls varsity swimming capped an 8-0 regular season, topping Andover 97-89, while the girls JV squad also picked up a win over the hosts, 88-82. The girls varsity 200 freestyle relay team of Chloe Meyer-Blohm ‘27, Sophie Phelps ’25, Brianna Cong ‘25 and Mena Boardman ‘26 turned in a pool- and meet-record time of 1:36.64, while Cong, Audrey Zhang ‘24, Boardman and Phelps teamed up to break a meet record in the medley relay, touching the wall at 1:44.93.

On the boys side, Ethan Guo ‘25, Winston Wang ‘25, Wayne Zhang ‘26 and Rudd Day ‘25 broke the meet record and the Exeter school record in the 200 freestyle relay, coming in at 1:23.68. The previous school record was set in 2012. Despite their record-breaking efforts, Andover’s boys varsity topped Exeter 105-78 while also earning the victory in the JV meet, 109-58.

The Red and Blue faithful were treated to two tightly contested matchups in the gym. Trailing by eight with under four minutes to play in the boys varsity basketball game, Exeter went on a 6-0 spurt powered by a Tyler Bike ’25 steal and score before Ryder Frost ’25 was fouled on a 3-point attempt and converted all three free throws to cut the deficit down to two, 57-55. Andover answered with a deep 3-pointer that ignited a 7-0 run of its own, closing out the game with a 64-58 decision. Frost finished with a team-high 19 points. Bike and Isaiah Reese '25, who knocked down three triples in the second half, each finished with 14. Despite the setback, Big Red has punched their ticket to the Class A playoffs, which tip off Wednesday.

On the girls side, a flurry of answered points in the waning minutes of the first half gave Andover a double-digit edge at the break. Big Red started to chip away in the third quarter thanks to some hot shooting from Laurie Chung ’24 before a three-point play by Cassie Beste ’25 cut the deficit to five midway through the fourth quarter. Big Blue answered the call, however, scoring six straight to roll to the 52-44 win. Beste poured in a team-best 15 points, while Chung added 11. Amelia Byerly ’24 finished with 10 points for the visitors.

On the ice, it was the hosts who controlled much of the play in both the girls and boys games. Girls hockey opened up the rivalry day in a fast-paced opening period. Big Blue opened the scoring four minutes into the game before adding a trio of goals in the second period on their way to a 6-0 win. Despite the loss, girls hockey has qualified for the postseason for the first time since 2009 and will travel to play Dexter Southfield on Wednesday in first-round action.

After falling behind 1-0 in the first, Big Red boys hockey nearly evened the score on a pair of power play chances early in the second period before being turned away by the Andover goalie. Big Blue then turned defense into offense, potting a shorthanded goal and following with another tally just one minute later to stake a 3-0 advantage. Andover closed out the game with a 4-0 decision.