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Women's XC Preview: No. 31 Bobcats poised for success

Senior Esther Kendall has been Bates' top finisher at NCAA Regionals in each of the past two seasons. (Photo by Tom Leonard '78)

LEWISTON, Maine -- The Bates College women's cross country team finished seventh at last year's NESCAC Championships for the second straight year, but with a significantly better point score than the year before. At the New England Championships, the Bobcats placed eighth, up one spot from 2007. It is perhaps recognition of the team's rising competitiveness that it received a national No. 31 ranking in the USTFCCCA's Division III preseason poll.

While the team misses two of its top runners from last year in Allie Goldstein '09 and Chloe Bourne '11, who will study abroad this season, the numbers the Bobcats will bring back paint an enviable picture: Bates will have 11 of its top 14 runners from 2008, and adds a promising first-year class of nine additional runners as well.

The five returning runners from 2008's top seven finishers at the NCAA Regional Championships comprise senior Esther Kendall (Ridgeway, Ontario; 43rd place at regionals), junior Liz Rowley (Evanston, Ill.; 47th), junior Alex Alberto (Concord, Mass.; 50th), and senior co-captains Abby Samuelson (Freeport, Maine; 74th) and Katie Bash (Wallingford, Pa.; 109th). Many of these runners have taken turns as Bates' top finisher at meets over the past two years, so with continued dedication to the program, there is promise for even better things for all five.

Also back from Bates' contingent at the ECAC Championships are senior Ngoc Pham (Sharon, Mass.; 32nd place), sophomore Nina Slote (Newton, Mass.; 34th), sophomore Jenny Monsulick (Readfield, Maine; 48th), junior Jennifer Mitton (Reisterstown, Md.; 54th), junior Kerri Leonhardt (Milford, N.J.) and senior Alison Leonard (West Granby, Conn.; 121st).

Bates has its annual Alumni Meet, along with the men's team, on Sept. 5 at 12 p.m. They compete at the Class Relays at Colby on Sept. 12, then host Bowdoin on Sept. 19 in a dual meet on the team's home course, Pineland Farms in New Gloucester, Maine.