The Bates Student

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Phillips Fellowship Students Reflect on Experiences

On Tuesday, Oct. 30, students and staff gathered to listen to Johanna Hayes ’19 and Shangwei Deng ’19 discuss their experiences working on projects funded by the Phillips Student Fellowship over the summer.

Each summer, Bates awards students around $6,000 dollars to explore something they are passionate about. The requirement is that the project the student undertakes must be outside their cultural comfort zone. Students in the past have conducted projects ranging from research or career exploration to arts or community-engagement.

This summer, Deng participated in a full-immersion program in Latin while living in Falconieri Villa, about a half-an-hour away from Rome, Italy. Deng is currently a Classical and Medieval Studies and Politics double major at Bates. His talk “Making Latin Modern?” dealt with how the Latin language heavily informed one of his favorite modern works, “The Wasteland” by T.S. Eliot, which is ripe with references to antiquity.

When Deng first arrived in Italy, he could not speak a word of Latin. “On the first day, I was not able to speak the language with any other people. People were from France, some were from Egypt, there were people from Spain, Germany and also many Americans.” As he humored, “All I could reply was ‘Ita, ita, ita.’” Ita is a word for ‘yes’ in Latin.

However, he began to pick up the language by listening to others, “I was able to make sounds, I’d pick up here and there over a conversation between fluent people. I could sort of tell if a word meant ‘to speak’ or ‘to hear’ and I’d be able to compile a sentence using these words, telling them “sententia mea” or my opinion.”

Those in the program started by asking everyday questions such as “How are you?” “Did you know” and “Can you pass me the cheese?”

“And gradually,” recounted Deng, “during the second and third week, I unburdened myself with the inquiry of ‘what is the distance?’ and ‘what is the experience of time?’ and gradually and gradually, I played along and became more and more a part of the community: singing, going out for excursions that are still in Latin, and it’s a fascinating experience.” In a sense, he experienced what it would be like if Latin were still a modern language.

However, the question for him still stood what the ramifications of resurrecting a dead language are: “When I was writing the proposal, I knew what challenge I may have. Latin itself is not really easily connected to our present culture…and there will always be a realistic struggle between me plunging into an ideal world and airlifting Latin into a contemporary one. And I was also very aware of a slippage of a dead language into a contemporary one…there were so many things that I could not name.”

After Deng’s presentation, Hayes, a Dance major and Anthropology minor discussed her project titled “Studying Self-Identity and Culture in Dance Environments.” In her two-and-a-half months spent in Europe, Hayes travelled to Germany, Spain and Austria and took four different dance and moving programs.

One question she found herself asking was “How do different dance practices’s values shape an individual and their relationship with others?”

Per Hayes, “This was the biggest question of this project, just because I grew up in a ballet background and I was taught to stand up straight and suck my stomach in and a boy would lift me up and that’s how I built a relationship with my own body and understanding how I could touch people, not touch people—that built my world, and the moment I got out of that ballet context to a modern context, I was like ‘Oh wait! There are other ways of moving! I don’t have to pull my stomach in any more. Wow, does that feels great!’”

Hayes spent the first month in the small town of Stolzenhagen, Germany, living in an artist commune surrounded by an idyllic landscape where the Freedom to Move Caucus was held. In the program, dancers dealt with issues like consent, identity, and how embodied experiences differ between people. For Hayes, “It was so tangible, even in movement, to feel those differences and to feel our own stories come out and social things come into play and it kind of blew my world apart and it left me with a lot of questions about dance and the dance space, and the way that it’s structured and the way it definitely excludes people.”

Hayes then headed to Spain to participate in two dance programs, one in Zaragoza and one in de Pedra. “After coming out of the Freedom to Move Caucus, I still had all of these questions of privilege in my mind and was kind of wondering why am I here lying on the floor listening to my collarbone while there are some real things going on. And that was a huge barrier for me, something that I’m still trying to address,” Hayes said.

While she loved the movement and dance styles in Spain, she did not enjoy how it was taught. When speaking about her time in de Pedra, Hayes said, “You would just be so exhausted and so torn apart and you would just get up and go to the next class. And you’d get torn apart, and you’d be told to go more and faster and harder and you’d die, and you’d go to the next one.”

One dance element Hayes seeks to bring to the U.S. is how emotion can inform postmodern dance. “And so going forward as a dance artist, hopefully, I hope that I can take what I experienced in Spain and apply the other teaching ways of consent or social issues and self-guided practice into some of those movement styles that I learned in Spain. Out of this project I just feel like I have so many tools, like I can pull from so many different situations, and that’s a gift. It just made me really believe in dance and think there’s so many ways to do it, and that makes me super excited about it.”

For those interested in applying, the deadline for the Phillips Student Fellowship is February 1, 2019. Students interested are strongly encouraged to begin working now with an advisor, as the trip requires a lot of planning and forethought.

Planned Parenthood Gen Action’s GOTV Initiative

Given their active presence on campus, you wouldn’t know that the Bates College Planned Parenthood Generation Action club was only started a few months ago. From the beginning of the semester until now, current club leaders Nina Moscowitz (2020), Analea Angot (2020), and Diana Flores (2020) have worked to integrate this nationwide college campus movement into the Bates community. Though the burgeoning reproductive rights club has many ideas for the future of Bates students’ reproductive health, safety, and well-being, they have been focusing their current energy on the election and Get Out The Vote.

As members have been actively working to better the Bates community, the club stands out as a wonderful and impactful alliance on campus. Planned Parenthood Gen Action members have been working to motivate and transport students to the polls, and convened on Thursday afternoon to phone bank to alert Bates students about their efforts to organize and provide rides to and from the polls. In addition, the club has been tabling to educate the campus community about candidates and has canvassed on weekends in and around Lewiston.

Last Thursday, Planned Parenthood Gen Action members phone banked, for which they met at the Ronj and enjoyed the rainy evening by calling and texting classmates, close-friends, and peers to urge them to vote. During the phone bank, club members also informed students of the multiple options to get to and from the polls. As a member of the club, I can attest to the heartwarming atmosphere of the initiative. Spending the afternoon working to get students to vote was invigorating. Also, as a student without a car myself, I can see how transportation could be a hindrance to voting, especially when factors such as school, work, and extracurriculars are also in the mix. Sitting in the Purple Room at the Ronj, eating Halloween candy, and talking to fellow members of the Bates community on the phone and over text to aid them in finding time amidst their busy class schedules to vote was such an inspiring experience.

Voting is so important, especially in today’s political climate: it is a chance to not just voice your opinions, but make your voice count. Every vote counts, and every voice counts. Exercising your right to vote is an amazing experience that should not be cast aside or belittled, even when getting to the polls might seem like a drag. Planned Parenthood Generation Action is making voting for Bates students easy. I encourage everyone to get down to the polls to vote and volunteer with Planned Parenthood Generation Action to help others do so as well!

The group has volunteers driving people to the polls on Election Day every hour and met at the Fireplace Lounge in Commons. For more information on getting involved with the club contact me, Pippin Evarts, at pevarts@bates.edu.

 

Boygenius’ Self-Titled Debut Flourishes

When I heard that Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus were making an album together, my initial reaction was one of skepticism. Despite the fact that they are all brilliant artists in their own right, I was curious as to how well they would all work as a group.

Although each member finds their origins in indie rock, their styles could not be more different. Lucy Dacus is deeply rooted in alternative garage rock, while Phoebe Bridgers made her name with a sharp and succinct combination of folk rock and indie pop. Julien Baker’s solo material is an intense blend of traditional emo and solo indie rock. That said, I was a little apprehensive as to how they would blend together and wondered if one of them would take the stylistic lead on the record.

Boygenius, the group’s titular debut EP, is a beautiful blend of the three styles each artist brings to the table and features some of the most tight-knit harmonies and straight-forward songwriting I’ve heard all year. The record perfectly combines the best parts of each performer’s respective musical style. Despite the large range of styles explored on such a short release, the group still manages to sound cohesive. The record opens with “Bite the Hand,” a gorgeous song full of sticky hooks and guitar leads which features the group’s brilliant three-part harmonies.

“Me & My Dog,” the second track on the record, primarily features Phoebe Bridgers and leans heavily in the folk rock direction. Featuring plucked mandolin on top of more straightforward guitar chords, the song beautifully blends indie rock with folk. “Me & My Dog” has some of the most heart-wrenching lyrics on the whole record, a true accomplishment on an EP this overwhelmingly forlorn: “I wanna be emaciated/ I wanna hear one song without thinking of you / I wish I was on a spaceship/ just me and my dog and an impossible view.”

The album seamlessly blends honest, emo-adjacent lyrics with folk songwriting. Boygenius might be more of a folk-rock record than anything else. However, that genre label and its associations don’t prevent Boygenius from the dynamic and noisy indie rock that is reminiscent of Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker’s former band, The Star Killers.

The penultimate track, “Salt in the Wound,” begins with a slow build that sounds like a Julien Baker solo release. However, the song builds into a beautiful, almost Dinosaur Jr-esque chorus: a gorgeous guitar solo weaves in and around a pervasive wall of vocals and distortion. The drums and guitars are dynamic and driving, and the vocals from all three members are powerful. Both give the track a very distinct forward momentum.

The final song, “Ketchum, ID,” is a slow, vocal-driven ballad. Somehow, the song manages to sound full despite the sparse instrumentation. It is a catharsis on the loneliness one can feel even when surrounded by other people. “Ketchum, ID” features the most beautiful and tightly knit harmonies on the entire release, complete with beautiful lyrics surrounding heartbreak and isolation. The song ends the record with a full and complete emotional release from all three musicians on the project.

Boygenius doesn’t reinvent the wheel on their debut EP, but they do manage to create one of the most full-bodied and honest releases of 2018. The dynamic instrumentation, range of genres explored, and well executed performances devise one of the most compelling releases yet.

 

Bates Habla Español:

The Bates Student runs a regular column covering Bates foreign language teaching assistants, highlighting the invaluable work they do and gaining insight into their cultural background.

A few weeks ago, I spoke to Daniel Guarín, the Spanish teaching assistant who hails from Armenia, Colombia. Recently, he reached out to me to cover a new learning initiative he has taken on: Bates Habla Español. The program, which comes in the form of a Facebook group, aims to digitally engage Spanish students at Bates through informal dialogue in Spanish. I spoke with him to learn more about the program and what it hopes to achieve at Bates.

Madeline Polkinghorn (MP): What is Bates Habla Español? What are its objectives?

Daniel Guarín (DG): Bates Habla Español (Bates Speaks Spanish) is a group created thinking about the needs of my Spanish students as a boost for their language acquisition. It is a group in which students can feel free to comment and interact in Spanish, out of the classroom and its formality: no stress, no pressure, just fun…

Bates Habla Español is a public group and it is available for all the Bates students who want to learn, improve or practice Spanish. And of course, learn more about Latin American and Spanish culture, literature, history, etc.

MP: How did you get the idea to start Bates Habla Español?

DG: The idea of creating this group was born during one of my master’s degree courses called ‘The Role of the 21st Century Language Professor’. The Internet is changing the world, it is changing communication, education and languages. We – language teachers – must be ready to face these changes and take advantage of them. We must also know that those formal and archaic language classes belong to the 19th century; now is the time to think about the informal ways of learning and teaching a language outside the walls of a classroom.

MP: How will this project help Bates students learn Spanish?

DG: There are many articles, books, videos, memes, and pictures that I would love to share with my students in class, but time is never enough and it flies when you are having fun, so this group is the opportunity for students to go deeper with Spanish and practice, because the more you practice the more fluent you become.

MP: What kind of content will be shared in the group?

DG: Well, everything has to have an educational purpose, even if I’m sharing memes, they must have an impact and must help students improve or learn or think. So there are many different kinds of content, such as videos about poets, writers, history. There will be pictures with fun facts about Spanish language and Hispanic culture, memes, music, etc. Everything in Spanish.

Interested students can access the group by searching Bates Habla Espanol, or following this link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/BatesHablaEspanol/.

 

Directing Success in One Acts Festival

Prior to last weekend’s One Acts Festival, I had only directed once before. It had been a good experience and I was interested in trying again. Upon arriving at Bates this fall, I joined the Robinson Players and learned about the One Acts Festival. Directing seemed like a good way to introduce myself to the group, and would serve as a reference for full-length productions I hoped to direct in the future.

I directed a play called Hysterical by Steve Yockey. In it, a lonely woman named Elizabeth (Julie Jesurum, ‘22) turns to a bottle of Jägermeister to deal with her break up. She winds up getting romantic advice from the logo’s iconic White Stag (Maria Gray, ‘22). The show is a funny yet poignant piece about break-ups and moving on.

Walking into auditions was terrifying. Because I normally audition for shows, I understand that it is nerve-wracking to audition for people who might not know me or what I can do. Even though I was on the other side, I was already comparing myself to the other directors. My friend Johnny Esposito ‘22 and I were the only first-year directors this year and I was convinced that I was out of place and unworthy at first. However, one of the reasons I came to Bates is because of its supportive student body. After a few minutes, I felt comfortable and like I deserved to be there. I was ready to be a part of what I knew was going to be a great show.

After two days of auditions and the battle for our casts, all the directors and I got to work. I was excited to be working with my cast of fellow first-years and ready to see what we would create in just three weeks. Luckily, my high school directing, acting, and stage managing experiences prepared me well for my first dive into college theater. I arrived and left rehearsals feeling confident in our story and how it took shape.

In our first rehearsal, we did “table work:” we all read the script together, and talked about the play as a whole. We then focused on blocking, or staging movement. In the days leading up to fall break, we continued to chip away at the scene to pull out the important storytelling moments.

While we each had our own ideas, we brought them together to create what the audience saw this past weekend.

Gray ‘22 had acted in high school, but Jesurum ‘22 had not. Similarly, our stage manager, Michelle Kim ‘22, had not held the role before. The rehearsal process was a learning experience for all of us and we worked together to produce something we loved.

Anyone who has participated in theater has their own horror stories from tech week, the week of the show in which all the tech elements of the production are brought in for the first time. These tech elements usually include lights, sound, props, set, and costumes. In our case, we began practicing in the performance space for the first time.

Without fail, “tech” is a week in which you spend more hours than you would like sweating in uncomfortable clothing while all your other commitments seem to quadruple. Fortunately, the directors worked alongside Robinson Players board members to develop a schedule leading to a pretty painless tech week.

In tech rehearsals, directors are hands-off compared to previous rehearsals. The show is basically turned over to the actors and stage managers, who become responsible for carrying out all the light and sound cues during the run.

My presence in the show wasn’t completely absent, though. I gave notes after tech rehearsals and warmed up with the actors before each show. I saw the show, which consisted of eight one-act-plays, three times. Never once did I feel the unworthy or out-of-place feelings I had experienced in the early minutes of auditions. All eight directors, nine stage managers, and seventeen cast members combined to create a great show that I’m honored to have been a part of.

Bates Re-envisions Sports Medicine

SARAH DU PONT/BATES STUDENT

Bates athletic trainer Ben Walker shows a basketball player the appropriate form for a T-spine quad stretch.

It is hard not to notice some of the changes in the sports medicine department at Bates this year: new faces, new techniques and an explosion of activity evident to all who pass by the trainer’s room in Merrill.

This year marks a new beginning for sports medicine at Bates. With only one returning and four new staff members, the core of the program has gone through a major shift in just the past few months alone.

Read More

The President’s Threat to Immigrant Dreams

President Donald Trump wants to end birthright citizenship because it is, as he aggressively stated at a rally, a “crazy, lunatic policy.” What he calls crazy, many families call hope. The 14th Amendment has been part of our Constitution since 1868 and has since promised citizenship to all those who are born on US soil. The President stated to a room of reporters that he would be signing an executive order to initiate the process, which would threaten to unravel a fundamental aspect of American culture.

The President ignores the trials that families are put through in order to come to the US and instead focuses on deliberately attacking them and all policies that would ensure their children’s survival. There are people who believe in ending birthright citizenship because it is a threat to the strength and immigration standards of the country. To do this would be a massive cultural change from what has always been associated with being an American.

People in favor of ending birthright citizenship argue that undocumented immigrants are not “subject to the jurisdiction” of the courts. However, in fear of coming off as xenophobic and racist, many conservatives have chosen to not fight this battle. Trump’s claim is a direct assault on unauthorized immigrants, most of whom have been here for 10 years or more. Even more so, it is a threat to the thousands of children who are already living here with undocumented parents. According to Dara Lind, a writer for Vox, “Restrictionists generally argue that the ability to give birth to a US citizen motivates people to come to the US illegally — but there’s simply no evidence that that’s true.”

Trump has been consistent with his beratement of undocumented immigrants since his campaign. Recently he sent 5,000 troops to the Mexican border, banned immigrants of eight Muslim and Latin American countries, and canceled the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program which provided relief to almost 700,000 immigrants. He ended Temporary Protected Status for Haitian, Nicaraguan and Sudanese people which provides work authorization and protection from removal. He has cut down on the amount of refugees the country takes, marking the lowest intake rate since the creation of the program in 1980.

Trump is, however, wrong in his factual accuracy. He stated that an executive order could disband the 14th amendment from the constitution. His arrogance dictates this lie and proves how uneducated he is on how the political system works. An executive order would simply start the process of disbanding the amendment, but it would ultimately go to the Supreme Court.

Trump may have no legitimate power in the cast of reshaping the amendment, but to even mention ridding our country of this policy is a representation of the xenophobic mindset of the administration. His order would push this country back to a time when men like Dred Scott could not claim citizenship due to their physical and ethnic attributes. This form of intimidation to foreigners that is flowing out of the White House is blacklisting the United States as a xenophobic nightmare for anyone trying to enter the country. Trump’s delusion about an imminent threat to the country by those who are “stealing our jobs” and “disenfranchising this country” will hopefully never come to fruition, but it will still establish an overall sense of fear for immigrants and their children.

 

Undocumented Immigration is Cheating

On October 2, a few dozen Bates students from Professor Longaker’s Social Movements in Latin America class congregated near Commons to stake out a claim for themselves in the nationwide immigration debate. While the rally was ostensibly organized in opposition to President Trump’s family separation policy, tide of protest quickly shifted from the administration’s ham-handed response to the US-Mexico border crisis. Amid a flurry of chants, you could hear “no one is illegal,” “fight ignorance, not immigrants,” and “education not deportation” – as if the issue at hand is less about incarcerated toddlers than the wholehearted acceptance of undocumented immigration at large.

I have no doubt that the protesting students commit to living by Bates’ academic integrity ideals. That is why I implore them and all like-minded members of our community to think about undocumented immigration as a variation of cheating. Yes, you read it right: unauthorized immigration is as much a challenge to our border security… as big a threat to the financial well-being of working class Americans (while most mainstream economists agree that all types of immigration foster economic growth, there is also a widespread consensus that the influx of low-skilled labor hurts similarly positioned native workers. See the Specifics-Factor Model)… as it is an act of cheating.

Early Monday morning. You have spent the entire weekend preparing for that notorious midterm exam. Worn out by a series of all-nighters, you trudge into the lecture hall ready to put all your hard work to good use. Then it comes to your attention that one of your classmates cheated. Theoretically, it makes little sense to be upset. Cheating is not a zero-sum game: your classmate’s behavior did not prevent you from doing well. And yet, most of us recoil at the very idea of academic dishonesty. Why? Because we are taught to understand, correctly, that cheating is fundamentally unfair to those playing by the rules.

If you think your classmate’s behavior is morally unjustifiable, then put yourself in the shoes of someone trying to immigrate to the United States legally. According to the Department of State Visa Bulletin, citizens of several Asian and Latin American countries should plan to wait upwards of two years before scheduling a consular appointment. And if spending two years of your life trying to get a visa already seems like too much, that is only the start.

Merely entering the United States legally does not make you eligible for citizenship. Before even dreaming of the coveted blue passport, one has to obtain a permanent resident permit, commonly known as a Green Card. Depending on whether one is coming to reunite with family or pursue employment, the process of obtaining a Green Card can lag for years. There are quotas. There are legal fees. There are immigration officers willing to deny your application because of an unintentional error. One may be in the country on a valid visa for decades, but before procuring Green Card, there can be no switching jobs before prior authorization, no in-state tuition benefits, and no easy time getting approved for a mortgage or even a credit card.

Many immigrants ultimately fail in their quest for a Green Card. Those who are successful have to wait at least five more years before proceeding with the naturalization application. A minute mistake on the US civics test can prevent you from finally being able to call yourself “American.” The journey from a dream to immigrate to the United States to the day when you take the oath of citizenship can thus stretch for decades; for some, it is the journey that lasts a lifetime.

Undocumented immigration corrupts the spirit of that journey. It is an act of cheating not solely vis-à-vis our nation’s laws, but all those foreign-born Americans who have sacrificed the time, energy, and material and emotional capital to make this country their very own. Chants like “no one is illegal” and “immigrants are welcome here” suggest there ought to be no distinction between those who played by the rules and those who did not. They do not do justice to an elderly mother waiting for hours in the consulate line to reunite with her daughter… to an international Bates student trying to settle down in the United States after graduation… to an immigrant soldier serving our country overseas.

Of course no human being is illegal. Plagiarizing on a test does not make one an “illegal human being,” yet the behavior they are engaging in is every bit as immoral as it is illegal.

Advocating for those whose immigration status is none of their fault – minors currently detained on the US-Mexico border and DACA recipients, individuals brought to the United States as children – is an empathetic, timely undertaking. The same could not be said about unapologetically embracing all types of unauthorized immigration. Just as there is no room for cheating in academia, undocumented immigration should have no place in the United States.

 

The Self-Destruction Of American Politics

Is the United States broken? Has our country finally succumbed to hatred and animosity? Just over the past two weeks, there has been a nationwide occurrence of pipe bombs that were targeted at several influential Democrats, liberal celebrities, and organizations who have been disdainful of Donald Trump and his administration. It sickens me to no end, how American politics and ideologies have divided the country to the point of no return. This pipe bomb incident shows how political ideology can be used as a method to attack people’s identities and threaten people’s lives. What makes this incident so appalling and unprecedented is its emphasis on a heightened animosity towards the left wing. The pipe bomb incident demonstrates how the desire for power, revenge, and absolutism can define the current climate of the United States.

Some of the many people who were targets of pipe bomb packages include Eric Holder, James Clapper, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and even Barack Obama. These are not just your average Democrats, but established politicians who have made a significant impact on American politics and history. Despite all the pipe bombs having been collected by federal, state, and municipal investigators, a nationwide investigation has apparently begun. As William K. Rashbaum, Alan Feuer, and Adam Goldman write, the “continuing wave of bombs has prompted an intense nationwide investigation into whether Trump’s critics or others vilified by the right are being targeted.” We will see where this nationwide investigation will accomplish, but I fail to believe that the current division in American politics will subside.

In recent news, this past Friday 56-year-old Cesar Sayoc was arrested by authorities in Miami and charged for sending out some of these pipe bombs to prominent Democrats and liberals. In fact, he was suspected of sending a total of 13 explosive devices to Democrats and liberals, in the hopes of possibly “getting attention.” With his van covered in pro-Trump stickers and propaganda, it has been revealed that Sayoc was an emphatic conservative who has written hateful statements against figures including liberal billionaire George Soros, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton. As more reports are coming, there have been interesting statements that have been made by people who know Sayoc. For example, Ronald Lowy, an attorney who has represented Sayoc’s family for years, said that Sayoc, “…lives in a fantasy. I have no doubt he’s mentally ill.” Lawyer David McDonald, who specifically interrogated Sayoc for a period of time, described Sayoc as “maybe delusional.”

“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,” so said John F. Kennedy. While America claims that its citizens exercise life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, we can see a clear contradiction that not all people are treated equally. The pipe bomb attacks show a pattern of deliberate hatred and menacing acts towards a particular ideological group who were perceived as enemies to the country. Regardless of what the intention was, this has been an act of not only calculated hostility but also may be an attempt at political retribution. While these Democrats are willing to serve and dedicate themselves in the United States, there are those willing to do whatever it takes to destroy them. Now the only question that I can ask is: is it too late to stop the destruction of American politics?

 

Men’s Cross Country Dominates NESCAC Championships

PHYLLIS GRABER JENSEN/BATES COLLEGE

Nico Johnson ‘19 finished fourth for the Bobcats, playing an important role in the team’s standout fourth place finish.

The New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) is notoriously one of the most competitive Division III conferences in the country. Several schools such as Amherst, Williams, and Tufts are often nationally ranked. Therefore, when Bates’ cross country team finished fourth out of 11 schools at the Championship meet at Franklin Park in Boston on Oct. 27, it should be recognized as a tremendous accomplishment.

Before the Championship meet, the team competed against several nationally ranked NESCAC schools at the Connecticut College Invitational on Oct. 13. Here, the team had a tough start, raced through muddy course conditions, and finished in 14th place out of a field of 27 teams, while Amherst, Williams, Middlebury, and Tufts finished in the top four. Regardless of the conditions, the men knew they could have competed with a smarter race strategy and returned to Bates eager to come back strong at the conference championships.

“Our team has been focusing on many things throughout the year,” Head Men’s Cross Country Coach Al “Fresh” Fereshetian said. “One of those has been to develop a culture of challenge, which means to be prepared to take risks.”

“We want to anticipate success and to be motivated by the excitement of the moment,” Fresh continued. “We really learned from our mistakes at Conn. College where we got out too slowly and buried ourselves in a huge field. The poor conditions on that day prevented us from moving up through the field effectively.”

Led by Coach Fresh, the Bobcats maximized their training between the two meets and learned from their mistakes as they ran their best effort of the season at the Championship meet. Not only did they beat three nationally ranked teams, Conn. College, Tufts, and Bowdoin, they also persevered through grueling conditions and surpassed their No. 8 ranking in the conference.

“The team did a fantastic job at the NESCAC meet,” Coach Fresh said. “This time around we went out very well and established our position in the first mile of the race to battle with the other top teams. From there, most of our team was able to really execute our race plan and the results were great. With the brutal weather conditions, it just made the whole thing that much more fun. They had to challenge themselves with not only the competition, but the conditions as well.”

2016 NESCAC Rookie of the Year James Jones ’20 lead the team with his eighth-place finish, earning Second Team All-NESCAC honors. Henry Colt ’19, Justin Levine ’20, Nico Johnson ’19, and Mark Fusco ’19 finished 17th, 19th, 32nd, and 35th respectively. Tucker Barber ’21 and Henry Raff ’22 were the team’s two displacers, finishing 41st and 43rd. The fact that all of the members of the top 7 finished in the top 50 speaks volumes to the impressive talent and depth of this team.

“The team had a really strong performance, we were able to build off each other’s drive to succeed and we handled the tough weather better than most,” Jones said.

“For our team to do well, we need each individual to perform as well as possible,” Coach Fresh said. “Our top runners did a fantastic job of running where they were capable of and competing and we had some guys like Fusco, Barber, and Raff really step up.”

The team’s next target is the Division III New England Regional Championships, which is set to take place at Bowdoin College on Nov. 10. Regionals is the focus of the season every year and the Bobcats are excited to continue the success they were able to accomplish at NESCACs.

“Our focus next week will again be to embrace the challenge of the moment and to be really present and prepared for the meet,” Coach Fresh said. “This is a great team; the chemistry is tremendous and our leadership is top shelf. The energy that the entire team has brought to the season has been inspirational and I know that they will give all that they have on that day. What happens from there is maybe beyond our control, so we will focus on putting our best effort out there and accept the results that follow.”

 

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