INDIANAPOLIS -- The Bates men's cross country team received an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championship, announced on Sunday by the NCAA Division III Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Committee.
The Bobcats, ranked 10th in the country this week, were one of 16 at-large teams chosen, and were joined by the two other teams eligible for at-large consideration after yesterday's New England Regional Championship, NESCAC rivals Bowdoin and Tufts. Regional champion Williams and runner-up Middlebury, two other NESCAC rivals, automatically qualified yesterday.
Bates made its last trip to NCAAs in 2004, when the team was ranked 22nd entering the meet and finished 19th in Eau Claire, Wis. As with this season, the Bobcats' best national ranking that year was No. 9. Bates also earned a team bid in 1999.
Bates was disappointed to not receive an at-large bid to the 2010 NCAA Championship, and the team resolved to make amends for that this year. Bates' seven runners at yesterday's regional meet will compete again at nationals.
Three different runners have crossed the finish line first for Bates this season, in sophomores Noah Graboys (Glencoe, Ill.) and Tully Hannan (West Hartford, Conn.), and senior captain Devin Dilts (Roscoe, Ill.), who qualified for NCAAs as an individual a year ago and is the only team member with NCAA Championship experience. Bates also boasts outstanding depth in All-NESCAC and All-New England junior Andrew Wortham (Newton, Mass.), senior Ben Chebot (Newton, Mass.), sophomore Mike Martin (Slatersville, R.I.) and junior Ken Whitney (West Hartford, Conn.).
The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh will host the championships Nov. 19 at Lake Breeze Golf Course in Winneconne, Wis. The women’s race will begin at noon ET followed by the men’s race at 1 p.m. ET.
In order to be eligible to participate in the championships, teams and individuals must qualify in their respective NCAA regions.
Thirty-two teams were selected to participate in each championship. The top two, seven-person teams automatically qualified from each of the eight regions, for a total of 16 teams. Sixteen additional teams were selected at-large.
Fifty-six individuals, the first seven athletes from each region who are not a part of a qualifying team, were selected to participate in each championship.