INDIANAPOLIS -- The NCAA Selection Committee made it official on Sunday: the Bates men's cross country team is headed to nationals for a second straight year, following Saturday's third-place team finish at NCAA Regionals in Westfield, Mass.
Saturday’s Division III championship race, hosted by Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology at the LaVern Gibson Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Ind., begins at 11am, followed by the women's race at 12pm (Webcast / Timing Site / Host Site). The Bates women's team is also going to NCAAs, for the third time in program history, and the first since 1997. It will be the first time both Bates teams will compete as a full squad at NCAAs in the same year.
Bates, currently ranked 11th in Division III, placed seventh at the 2011 NCAA Championships in Wisconsin. It was their second-best NCAA finish in team history, after the sixth-place showing in 1977.
At NCAA Regionals yesterday, Bates was in the middle of a very tight top five, all of them fellow NESCAC teams. With 105 points, Bates was only four behind No. 14 Bowdoin and 14 behind the top team, No. 8 Middlebury. No. 17 Williams came in fourth with 113, a point ahead of fifth-place and No. 5-ranked Tufts (114).
Underscoring Bates’ excellent depth, eight other teams had individuals finish ahead of the Bobcats’ No. 1 runner, junior Mike Martin (Slatersville, R.I.). Martin came in 12th among 351 competitors, finishing the 8-kilometer course in 25:11.21, a 5:03 pace.
Martin was the first of a whopping five Bobcats who won All-New England laurels for placing among the top 35 individuals. Junior Tully Hannan (West Hartford, Conn.) took 17th place in 25:19.72, followed by senior captain Andrew Wortham (Newton, Mass.) in 21st (25:26.25), junior Noah Graboys (Glencoe, Ill.) in 23rd (25:27.16) and senior Ken Whitney (West Hartford, Conn.) was Bates’ final scorer, in 32nd place (25:35.12).
Sophomore John Stansel (Newburyport, Mass.) and senior James LePage (Cumberland, Maine) were Bates’ sixth and seventh displacers to cross the finish line, in 42nd and 57th overall at 25:52.10 and 26:07.66, respectively. All seven men will compete at NCAAs, with senior captain Graham Pearsall (Guilford, Maine) expected to travel with the team as an alternate.
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.