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Men's cross country fifth at regionals; awaiting word on NCAA bid

Four Bates runners earned All-New England honors at NCAA Regionals (from left to right): Tully Hannan '14, Andrew Wortham '13, Devin Dilts '11 and Noah Graboys '14. (File photo by Tom Leonard '78)

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- The Bates College men's cross country team tied for fifth place Saturday at the NCAA Division III New England Regional Cross Country Championships, to become eligible to compete as a team at the NCAA Championship next weekend. The Bobcats will receive official word when the championship field is announced on Sunday at 3 p.m.

Bates tied with Wesleyan for fifth place out of 49 teams in the meet with 150 points. The tiebreaker, which matches up each team's first five runners head-to-head, favored Bates by a 3-2 margin. The top five teams at each NCAA Regional are eligible for selection to the NCAA Championship. Bates and Wesleyan were five points behind fourth-place Middlebury, and four points ahead of seventh-place Bowdoin and 12 ahead of eighth-place Tufts. MIT was first with 93, followed by Williams (101) and Brandeis (139).

Bates senior Devin Dilts (Roscoe, Ill.), for one, already has his ticket punched for his first trip to NCAAs, to be held Saturday, Nov. 20 at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. That's because Dilts placed ninth out of 333 competitors overall, covering the 8-kilometer course at Mt. Greylock High School in 26:06.6. He'll be Bates' first competitor at NCAAs in cross country since Matt Dunlap '08 in 2007.

Dilts was the first of four Bobcats to earn All-New England honors, which go to the top 35 finishers -- the first time since 2004 that Bates has had four on the list. First-year Noah Graboys (Wilmette, Ill.) was 18th (26:15.7), followed by sophomore Andrew Wortham (Newton, Mass.) in 21st (26:20.1) and first-year Tully Hannan (West Hartford, Conn.) in 31st (26:31.4). Rounding out Bates' top seven were sophomore Eric Kimball (Manchester, Mass.) in 71st, senior Tom Esponnette (Auburn, Maine) in 74th and junior Sean Colligan (Goffstown, N.H.) in 79th.