The Bates women's cross country team is on its way to one of its best seasons ever. The team's trademark depth is perhaps better than ever, while two newcomers to the team, junior transfer student Gabby Naranja (Fort Kent, Maine) and first-year Hannah Zeltner (Bedford, N.H.), have led the No. 32 nationally ranked Bobcats in each race they've run in so far this season.
Having also risen to the No. 6 ranking in Division III's most competitive region, New England, Bates traveled to an out-of-region meet on Saturday, the RPI Invitational at Saratoga State Park in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and came away with a win among 12 teams.
Among 172 runners overall, Naranja paced the Bobcats in third place overall, covering the 3.04-mile course in 17:59.21. Zeltner took ninth place in 18:11.03. Sophomore Elena Jay (West Hartford, Conn.) and senior Lindsay Cullen (Newburyport, Mass.) were 14th and 15th, respectively, in 18:17.38 and 18:17.60, and senior Alicia Fannon (Haverhill, Mass.) capped Bates’ scoring in 18th place at 18:24.70. Junior Amanda Solch (Mountain Lakes, N.J.) finished 19th (18:25.71) and junior Mira Carey-Hatch (Laconia, N.H.) was the Bobcats’ other displacer, finishing 23rd overall in 18:36.37.
The Bobcats scored a match-low 59 points to outpace runner-up Plattsburgh State (80). Division II Saint Rose finished third with 99, followed by Vassar (104), Oneonta (111), RPI (124), New Paltz State (141), Stevens Institute (251), Cobleskill (267), St. John Fisher (278), Mt. St. Mary (330) and Sarah Lawrence (374).
Naranja and the Bobcats will be highest-ranked team and the odds-on favorite this Saturday in the Maine State Championships, hosted by the University of Southern Maine at the Narragansett School in Gorham. The race starts at 12pm.