The men’s cross country team competed at the NCAA Regional Championships in Gorham, Maine on November 11 and came away with a solid fifth place finish. This is the strongest showing that Bates has had at the Regional Championships since 2013.
With temperatures barely reaching above freezing, this race was difficult both mentally and physically for runners used to the record high temperatures recorded this fall. Despite the poor conditions, some of the Bobcats ran exceptionally well, picking up where others fell short.
Leading the Bobcats in 30th place, Stephen Rowe ‘18 ran the eight kilometer course in a personal best time of 26:09.4. Senior captain Zach Magin ‘18 finished close behind him in 32nd with a time of 26:11.0. Both runners earned All-New England honors for their top-35 performance; this is the second year in a row that Magin has received this honor and Rowe’s first.
Following right on their heels, Henry Colt ‘19 came in 37th with a time of 26:14.2. Senior captain Ben Tonelli ‘18 and Matt Morris ‘18 rounded out Bates’s top five placing 52nd and 60th with times of 26:27.7 and 26:29.9 respectively. Ryan Betz ‘19 finished in 70th with a time of 26:41.4 and Justine Levine ‘20 came in 83rd with a time of 26:55.0.
“We had a few guys run a little off where they have been, but then a few others ran much better and had break out races,” head men’s cross country coach Al Fereshetian says. “So, overall the team did very well. Stephen Rowe ran an exceptional race, as did Henry Colt, while Zach Magin, Ben Tonelli and Matt Morris all had solid races.”
In total, Bates boasted a total spread of 20.5 seconds among its top five runners, once more emphasizing their strength as a team. Bates runners are proud to start together and finish together, carrying each other through the race.
“I think our most impressive accomplishment at the meet was that the spread between our 1st and fifth guys was only 20 seconds,” Rowe says. “We are a team that is built on depth and we worked exceptionally well with each other through the regional meet.”
MIT remained New England Regional Champions for the second year in a row, earning a total of 81 points. Amherst came in a close second with 91 points and Middlebury trailed both, receiving 124 points to place third.
While Bates beat Williams at the NESCAC Championships, Williams came out on top in this race placing fourth (137). Brandeis and Connecticut College both fell to fifth place Bates (211), finishing sixth (215) and seventh (218) respectively.
In total, 55 teams and 370 runners braved the frigid temperatures to compete at the Regional Championship meet.
“It was a very good performance by our team, our best finish at this meet since 2013,” Coach Fereshetian says. “The New England region is always one of the strongest and deepest in the nation. A fifth place here really puts you among the best.”
Magin echoes this statement: “Not all of our guys had their best day, but we had a number of guys who stepped up and ran really well when we needed it. I know that we are a better team than what we had yesterday, but we’ve had a great season; we finished the highest our team has finished in three years, which is something to be proud of.”
Although the Bobcats narrowly missed qualifying for the NCAA Division III Championships by one place, they remain characteristically positive about their performance and teammates.
“I thought regionals was an amazing way for our team to cap off a phenomenal season,” Rowe says. “The course was challenging. [There were] many narrow sections and tight turns where it was easy to lose speed. Additionally, the cold temperature added another layer of difficulty to the meet. Yet despite this, we performed really well…Unfortunately, we didn’t qualify for nationals, but…the development we’ve experienced as a team throughout the season is simply extraordinary.”
Although Bates’ cross country season has come to a close, most of the men’s cross country team will continue training without rest in preparation for the upcoming indoor track season, beginning in early January.