Fast and Furious: Bates Women’s Cross Country Strides into Championship Season

On October 29th, Bates Women’s Cross Country traveled west to Clinton, New York to race at Hamilton College in the 2022 NESCAC Championships. Riding on the heels of a wildly successful regular season, the Bobcats went into this meet feeling confident, which manifested in their races.“We were all pretty pumped up before this meet,” Elizabeth Holcombe ‘26 explained. “We had just come off of some really successful races and I was so excited about continuing to improve.” 

The women ran a fantastic meet, placing 3rd in the NESCAC and posting the best score in the team’s history at 65 points. With that, they were proud to have three women named members of the all-NESCAC team. Jillian Richardson ‘23, one of this year’s captains, placed 3rd in the race, earning first team all NESCAC alongside first-year Elizabeth Holcombe who placed 7th. Frieda Kickliter ‘25 too was named second team all-NESCAC after placing 12th overall. 

This week, members of the team sat down with me to discuss their races, their seasons, and their time spent on the team. 

Elizabeth Holcombe ‘26 joined the team at a pivotal point in its history. With a new head coach and the merging of the men’s and women’s teams, there was no shortage of new things to experience this season.

“It’s been a lot of change for the team, but a really swift and good process,” she remarked. Holcombe is incredibly grateful for the community that she has found within this team. “Coming into Bates I immediately was meeting all of these women who are so, so lovely.” 

Holcombe, and the rest of the women, are very proud of the way the team has grown together throughout the season. “It’s very easy for running to become an individual sport,” she said, “but this year, we have done a really good job at making this a collective group effort.” 

Team Captain Jillian Richardson ‘23 shares all of the same sentiments. “I’m super proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish this year,” she said, adding that “The team vibe has been really fun and supportive.” 

The women work to empower each other, which comes quite easily, as Holcombe and Richardson expressed, when you are surrounded by a strong, confident, and warm group like this team. “There is so much talent here, but we have also really come together on the mental side too. We are super strong together. It’s been a really healthy, confident vibe.” 

The team leaned into this supportive nature as they approached a difficult race at NESCACS this past weekend. The course was hilly, but the women used it to their advantage. A huge part of racing is how you play off of the other runners, the women explained. “I think we kind of killed it, it felt really good. We had a really lovely race.” 

The women came off of this weekend with loads of pride and excitement, which they plan to carry into championship season in the coming weeks. “There is so much positive energy going into regionals next weekend,” Holcombe expressed. “Coming off such a good race, we are so excited to run hard, be together as a group, and see what we can do!”

This weekend, the women will be traveling to the home of the polar bears for NCAA East Regionals at Bowdoin College. “Champion season is my favorite part of cross country,” Richardson remarked. She went on to explain how she is not typically the competitive type, but when championship season rolls around, she gets pretty hyped up about racing and seeing what the team can do.

After that, the team will be sending its top seven runners to Michigan for NCAA championships on November 19th. 

As championship season approaches, Richardson is holding out a goal: to go to Nationals and match their 2019 placing of 14th place overall. “It would be so cool to come full circle back to freshman year in that way,” she explained. 

On an individual level, however, Richardson just wants to run her heart out in these last couple races. As she wraps up her senior season, Richardson is stoked to leave it all out on the course and do everything she can to make her coaches and teammates proud.

As the Cats’ gear up for championship season over these next couple weeks, be sure to stay tuned! If you can’t make it up to Brunswick for Regionals this weekend, you can follow their races @gobatesbobcats or @batesxctf on instagram! Scratch em up!