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Bobcats of the week of May 25, 2009

Ben Stein '09
Few athletes in Bates College history have ever reached the degree of achievement Ben Steindid May 22-24, 2009, when he won eight matches and lost only one, the NCAA Division III Men's Tennis Singles Championship, and headed home as a national champion.Stein was unseeded in the 32-player singles field at the tournament, as were he and teammate Amrit Rupasinghe in the 16-team doubles field. Yet he and Rupasinghe won four straight matches to claim Bates' first NCAA doubles title, even as Stein won four straight singles matches to advance to Sunday's final, falling in three sets to Emory's Michael Goodwin 7-5, 5-7, 6-1.

After Stein was finally finished with his run for the singles championship, he and Rupasinghe competed in the semifinals of the doubles championship, outlasting the same pair they defeated last year at the NCAA Championships at Bates in the quarterfinals, Charlie Cutler and Chris Hoeland of Washington University in St. Louis, by a 7-6 (2), 3-6, 6-4 score.

Improbably, with the NCAA title on the line, the Bates pair matched up against Oscar Pena and Jamie Neely of rival Bowdoin. The match was excellently played by all four players. Rupasinghe had dominant moments in different spots during the match, particularly the first set. But it was Stein who played "like a beast," in the words of online broadcaster Ken Thomas, in the decisive third set, as the Bobcats won 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 in a moment for the ages in Bates athletics lore.

Vantiel Elizabeth Duncan '10
Bates junior Vantiel Elizabeth Duncan(Topsham, Maine) became a three-time All-American by finishing fifth in the women's hammer throw at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships last week at Marietta College.Duncan also came up just short of claiming a second All-America award in these championships on Saturday in the shot put, making the finals but finishing in ninth place with a top heave of 13.10 meters (42-11.75). Duncan was seeded 15th in the event going in.

Duncan's top hammer throw of 52.29 meters (171-6), qualified her for the nine-athlete final. It is her first outdoor All-America award, after twice achieving the feat at the NCAA Indoor Championships in the weight throw.

Duncan and senior teammate Izzy Alexander(Harvard, Mass.) represented the Bates women's team at the meet. Alexander placed sixth in the 400-meter hurdles to finish her career with five All-America honors, the second highest total in team history.