The track and field program here at Bates is one of the oldest and most successful on campus, as anyone who has ever seen the east wall of the indoor track can well attest–hundreds of men’s and women’s All-Americans, along with national champions across nearly every event discipline. However, new additions to this wall will be coming soon with the introduction of the Peter and Lois Doran Award for Track and Field Excellence.
Named after longtime meet official, Peter Doran, the award will honor one member of the men’s and women’s teams who “displays dedication to the college, program and coaches, leadership on the team and on campus, achievement at the highest level of personal ability and maintains a cumulative GPA of 3.30 or higher.”
Mr. Doran was a varsity athlete during before graduating from Colby in 1958, playing multiple sports but also specializing in throws when in season for track and field. Since then, Mr. Doran searched for a way to continue to remain engaged in the track and field world, eventually landing on officiating. He has officiated the indoor Maine State meet since its inception more than 50 years ago, as well as many Bates home meets, junior Olympic meets, and even some on the national stage.
When asked by Aaron Morse of the Bates Bobcast how the award came to be, Peter replied, “It’s our esteem for Bates College and the emphasis they’ve placed on track and field. We wanted to be able to recognize that, and to find some way of providing incentive to student-athletes, as they’re participating, here in Bates, to encourage them to excellence. But not just in track and field, but in as many phases of their lives.”
In his speech to both track teams on Jan. 27, Mr. Doran made sure to emphasize that his connection with the sport of track and field could not have been realized without the support of his wife, Lois Doran. Her name also graces the award, despite her humble claims that the award is representative of her husband’s work, “I support him in what he’s doing, I know how much he loves it. I worry about him sometimes, but…I love it.” Lois also made sure to voice the fact that track and field is not like other sports, in more than one sense: “A lot of other sports, like basketball and baseball, you don’t get to play, you sit on the bench. You don’t get to play. But these kids [track and field athletes] can do so many things, it’s very special.”
Perhaps the most special aspect of the award itself is that one doesn’t have to necessarily be the ‘best’ athlete on the track teams; the stipulations for the award are very clear that much of the weight in the selection is placed in things like sportsmanship, community outreach, and overall excellence, as opposed to simply selecting the best member of the men’s and women’s teams.
On this note Peter commented, “It is such an opportunity here at Bates, to take advantage of all the activities that are possible. Obviously, the academic scholarship, and the athletic opportunities are important. But in addition to those, the nice thing about being a student these days in a liberal arts college like this, that’s part of the community.”
Peter Doran will be in attendance at the Maine State Meet this weekend, with the women competing at USM on Friday, Feb. 7th, and the men competing at Bowdoin the following day. Both meets will take place in the evening, with the women looking to win their seventh straight indoor state title, while the men look to repeat last year’s dominant victory.
Following their respective achievements in cross country at the state meet, both teams will be looking to take home the second piece of the elusive ‘Triple Crown,’ which requires winning all three Maine meets (cross country, indoor, and outdoor) in a single year. Both teams have gotten off to phenomenal starts, but will look to up the ante with championship season around the corner.