NEW GLOUCESTER, Maine -- The No. 24 nationally ranked Bates women's cross country team won the Maine State Championship meet running away Saturday, with its top five runners all placing within the top 12 overall at Pineland Farms.
Bates scored 29 points to outpace runner-up Bowdoin (41) by 12. Colby was third (83), followed by Southern Maine (94), St. Joseph's (164), UMaine-Farmington (168), Maine Maritime (225), Unity (240) and UMaine-Presque Isle (261).
Bates' score is the best since Colby's 23 points in 2010. Following two straight third-place finishes, it is the program's third state championship in the past five years and fourth ever since the women's meet began in 1979.
Bowdoin's Sarah Kelley prevailed in a close charge to the finish line to win the overall title in 18:38.3. But Bates shuttled in the next three finishers, as senior Jessica Wilson (18:42.9), junior Katherine Cook (18:45.7) and sophomore Katie Barker (18:50.5) came in second, third and fourth place. Wilson (Cumberland, Maine), who has led the Bobcats in each race this season, placed 12th at the state meet a year ago.
Wilson, Cook (South Burlington, Vt.) and Barker (Burlington, Vt.) all earned their first All-State honors in cross country, going to the first seven individuals.
Senior Molly Chisholm (Wayland, Mass.) finished eighth out of 116 runners, covering Bates' home 5-kilometer course in 19:09.3; junior Mary Szatkowski (Buxton, Maine) placed 12th in 19:23.9 to round out Bates' scoring. Bates' displacers were first-year Olivia LaMarche (Lynnfield, Mass.) in 16th place (19:32.9) and sophomore Sarah Rothmann (North Andover, Mass.) in 17th (19:43.5).
Two more Bobcats were also in the top 20 overall, as sophomore Ayden Eickhoff (Corvallis, Mont.) took 18th (19:48.2) and sophomore Wendy Memishian (Medway, Mass.) came in 20th (19:50.9).
The Bobcats return to action in two weeks at the NESCAC Championships, hosted by Colby at the Quarry Road Recreation Area in Waterville, Maine.