Bobcats of the week of June 2, 2008

Rich McNeil '10
Bates College sophomoreRich McNeil(Lawrence, Mass.) finished fifth in the men's hammer throw in May at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships, earning the first All-Ameica honors of his career.McNeil was making his second trip to NCAAs after placing 14th in the discus throw as a freshman in 2007. He was the only underclassman to qualify for the finals, with a top preliminary round throw of 173-3, which ranked seventh. In the finals, after two competitors had passed him in earlier throws, McNeil's penultimate throw traveled 180-9, moving him into fifth place, where he stayed.Meanwhile, McNeil's senior teammate Noah Gauthier (Amherst, N.H.) placed 14th in the hammer in the final performance of his decorated career.

McNeil became the 26th Bates man to win All-America honors in outdoor track and field, and the 12th to do so in the hammer throw. He also started at defensive tackle for the Bobcats football team in 2007, recording 24 tackles.

Nicole Ritchie '09
Bates College juniorNicole Ritchie(East Dummerston, Vt.) led the Bates College women's rowing team to its second straight top 5 national finish, when the Bobcats sewed up fifth place in Division III on May 31 at the NCAA Women's Rowing Championships at Lake Natoma in Gold River, Calif.The Bates College women's rowing team notched a first-place showing in the petite final of the NCAA Women's Rowing Championships, leading the Bobcats to a fifth-place team finish as the Division III part of the regatta concluded Saturday at Lake Natoma.Bates finished the competition with 12 points, fifth out of seven teams -- three points behind both Puget Sound and Ithaca, and three ahead of sixth-place St. Lawrence. Williams claimed its third straight NCAA title with 25 points. The Bobcats went to NCAAs for the first time last year and finished third.

Before the NCAAs began, and for the second year in a row, Ritchie was named to the Pocock Division III All-America First Team by the College Rowing Coaches Association.

Selection criteria for earning CRCA All-America honors include strength of schedule, regular season record, end of season regatta results, nomination rank, coaches' comments and 2,000-meter erg score.

Ritchie is also a NESCAC All-Academic honoree and a member of the Bates Nordic skiing team, for which she has been elected captain for the 2008-09 season.