Bobcats of the week of Oct. 18, 2010

Noah Graboys '14
The 2010 season is shaping up to be a pretty special one for the Bates men's cross country team, and rookie Noah Graboys(Glencoe, Ill.) has as much to do with that as anyone.Graboys was the individual runner-up in Saturday's State of Maine Championships at Bowdoin, covering the 5-mile course in 25:43.74, less than a second behind Bowdoin rookie Coby Horowitz. Bates placed second at the meet to the host Polar Bears, but was impressive enough to enter the national rankings this week for the first time since 2005, at No. 32.

Graboys has now crossed the finish line first for Bates four times, including at the Codfish Bowl in Boston, Bates' home quad meet against Bowdoin, Tufts and Colby, which he won, and the Bates-Colby Class Wave Races, in which he registered the top time of the day.

A mix of new and returning talent has led to Bates' strongest team in five years. Three of Graboys' teammates also earned All-State honors for finishing among the top 10 out of 140 runners. Senior Devin Dilts (Roscoe, Ill.) placed fourth in 25:57.31, after coming in third for two straight years at the same meet. First-year Tully Hannan (West Hartford, Conn.) was seventh in 26:16.40, and junior Sean Colligan(Goffstown, N.H.) placed ninth in 26:25.80.

Bates has this weekend off of competition, then heads to Hamilton College for the NESCAC Championship on Oct. 30 at 1 p.m.

Kerri Leonhardt '11
Kerri Leonhardt'sjunior year with the Bates women's cross country team was thoroughly discouraging. She entered the season in terrific shape, but two injuries and a bout with illness conspired to all but wipe out the year for her.She arrived on campus this semester as you might expect a team captain to: again, in great shape. So far, the results have been enormously noticeable.

For the first time in her career, Leonhardt (Milford, N.J.) is a regular among Bates' top seven runners. In fact, she has clearly been the team's top performer, leading the Bobcats in all four races she has appeared in: in September, she placed fifth in the Bates-Colby Sophomore-Senior Wave Race, then came in 10th out of 92 runners in a four-team meet with Bowdoin, Colby and Tufts. This month, she led the Bobcats at Open New Englands in Boston, then paced the team again at Saturday's State of Maine Championships at Bowdoin. Although it was a somewhat subpar performance for her, as she finished the 5-kilometer course in 19:53.57, she nevertheless placed 13th out of 134 runners at the meet, leading Bates to third place out of nine teams -- Bates' 11th consecutive top-three finish at the state meet.

Leonhardt and the team next compete at the NESCAC Championship, taking place at Hamilton on Saturday, Oct. 30.