WESTFIELD, Mass. -- The No. 11 nationally ranked Bates men's cross country team likely clinched its second straight trip to the NCAA Division III Championships, with the Bobcats' third-place showing at the NCAA New England Regional Championships at Westfield State.
As a team, Bates was in the middle of a very tight top five, all of them 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 (Slaterville, 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 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.
The top two teams at the meet are guaranteed berths in next Saturday's NCAA championship race, in Terre Haute, Indiana. Five men's teams from New England were selected a year ago, including Bates, which had finished fourth at New Englands.