The aquatic Bobcats have a tall order if they want to meet or exceed the success that they had in the pool last year. The women’s team finished 11th at NCAA Division III Nationals, breaking four school records. The men finished 37th, and broke three school records at the meet.

Head Coach Peter Casares commented, “We lost 17 seniors last year and that is a big hole to fill. So we’ve left behind the notion of replacing that class, and jumped on the idea of creating an identity with this year’s team based on our strengths, which are desire and depth. This team is deep and they want to be better.”

The Bobcats are returning stellar swimmers on both teams. The women welcome back Sarah Daher ‘17 and Lindsey Prelgovisk ‘16, while the men have sophomores Riley Ewing and Teddy Pender coming back from the national team as well. Despite their strong finishes last year, look for the Bobcats to improve throughout the year and be even better than they were last season.

“I want last year just to be another example of what happens if you follow the program’s goals and leaders. It should give them confidence going forward, but results should be forgotten,” Cesares said. “We not only have a new crew, we are also nowhere near that good… yet.  So we are simply going to try and be better than last year. If everyone improves their focus, their walls, their strokes, their lifts, their paces, then the results should follow.”

Stock: UP

Men’s Hockey

The men’s hockey team has been one of the more consistent teams at Bates throughout the years. Normally led by a stellar defensive unit and electric attack, the team finds itself consistently at the top of the NECHA.

After losing just four seniors to graduation in 2015, many of the playmakers from a season ago return. Defensemen such as junior Mark Upton and senior Will Seider look to dominate the defensive area, while forwards and senior trio Jacob Bergeron, Jamie Peterson, and Nile Rabb will keep the ‘Cats on the winning end of many contests.

Stock: UP

Women’s Hockey

The women’s hockey team has already gotten off to a great start. Already beating opponents such as St. Joe’s and Harvard by a combined score of 22-5, the ‘Cats look to maintain that trajectory heading into the remainder of the season.

Junior Kelsey McDermott and senior Julia Riback look to lead the Bobcats to yet another successful campaign. Coupled with solid role players and a crop of new talented freshmen, the Bates women’s hockey team should find itself at the top of their division by season’s end.

Stock: UP

Men’s Basketball

You can’t have a much better season than Bates men’s basketball did in 2014-15. At 21-7 overall, the team recorded the most wins in Bates history, made their first appearance in the NCAA Division III Tournament, and reached the Sweet Sixteen.

How can they match or possibly even surpass that success? The first obvious answer is that they need to find a way to replace the talent they lost, namely star point guard Graham Safford, defensive stalwart Billy Selmon, and dependable bench player Adam Philpott. In order to make up for those absences, senior guard Mike Boornazian, who averaged 15.2 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists per game, will likely need to consistently be almost as dominant as he was during his 39-point outburst against Connecticut College. Twin towers Malcolm and Marcus Delpeche ‘17 will also be integral to Bates’ success if they can continue to block shots, clean up the boards, and score in the low post.

Outside of that core, several role players and first-years will need to step up for Bates. Expect 5’ 8’’ sophomore guards Shawn Strickland and Jerome Darling, who impressed with their quickness and composure in limited late-season action, to run the point at times this season. 6’ 6’’ junior forward Max Eaton is another player who the Bobcats will likely depend on more this campaign. While the first-years are of course unknown commodities at the college level, there are several promising players, including guards Eli Frater and Isaiah Seetram, and 6’ 6’’ power forward Nick Lynch.

Bates’ first game is this Saturday at Thomas College, against Norwich. The home opener is versus the University of New England at 5:00 PM on November 29.

Stock: Down

Women’s Basketball

New head coach Alison Montgomery, a former star player at Bowdoin and a past assistant for the Polar Bears and the United States Naval Academy, will take over following the retirement of long-time coach Jim Murphy. She’ll be aiming to improve on Bates’ 10-14 mark from last season, but it will be a challenge.

Although Bates loses its top scorer from last year, forward Molly Brown (18.5 points per game), there are plenty of experienced and talented returning players. That said, forward Chelsea Nason is the only senior on the roster. Juniors Bernadette Connors (9.4 points per game) and Allie Coppola will be key players for the Bobcats. Coppola averaged a double-double in 2014-15, posting 10.8 points per game and a NESCAC-leading 11.5 rebounds per game. Sophomore Nina Davenport will be another crucial piece for Bates, having recorded 14.7 points and 5.8 rebounds per game in an impressive freshman season.

The Bobcat women begin their season on Friday at UMaine Farmington. Their home opener is the first game of a doubleheader with the men, on November 29.

Stock: Even