Homefield advantage and extensive depth are two crucial factors that are not to be taken for granted in collegiate sports. This is especially true for the men’s cross country as they crushed the competition in their meet Saturday, September 17 at Pineland Farm in New Gloucester, Maine; winning the event by over 50 points. The men faced three other schools, Tufts University, WPI, and the University of Southern Maine. Bates recorded 115 points, followed by Tufts with 171, WPI with 196, and the University of Southern Maine with 397 points. WPI and Tufts are ranked 10th and 18th, respectively, in New England. However, after their victory, the Bates men are now impressively ranked ahead of both schools, securing 7th place in the division.

The future is definitely very bright for this team as James Jones ‘20, from Colorado Springs, Colorado, led the team with a blistering time of 26:19.7 over the grueling 8,000 kilometer course. This performance placed Jones fourth out of a field of 67 athletes.

“It was really nice for me to have a positive experience running my first 8K,” Jones said. “On a fundamental level, the race was very similar to every other race I’ve run, but it still gives me a bit more confidence to get one out of the way.”

Behind Jones, the men secured spots five through eight, unveiling the tremendous depth of this team. captains Joe Doyle ‘17 and Evan Ferguson-Hull ‘17 placed fifth and sixth, with times of 26:36.6 and 26:36.9. Next followed by Nick Orlando ‘18 and Matt Morris ‘18 in seventh and eighth. Although an individual Bates runner did not win the meet, the team pushed through the tough course together as a solid pack and found success as a group.

“We were very excited to get the win over some great competition, particularly Tufts since they’re ranked in the top 20 nationally,” Doyle said. “The fact that we were able to win scoring ten runners really speaks to how deep our team is this year.”

On October 1, the Bates men will be traveling to Louisville, Kentucky, hoping to continue to strengthen their pack and remain competitive on both the regional and national level. “We’re very excited for the opportunity to race at Louisville,” Doyle said. “There will be many really strong teams from around the country and it’ll be a great chance to show that we can compete with anyone.”