Despite the ominous weather forecast and slick terrain, the Bates men toughened out a grueling 8,000 kilometer course at the NESCAC Championships this year. The meet was hosted by Colby College at the Quarry Road Recreation Area on Saturday October 29. The NESCAC Conference is one of the most competitive in New England, including nationally ranked teams such as Williams, Amherst, and Middlebury. The men finished 7th out of 11 competing schools, ousting Connecticut College, Hamilton, Wesleyan, and Trinity.
“The NESCAC meet is always really exciting because all the schools in the conference are excellent competitors,” says captain Evan Ferguson-Hull ‘17. “This meet is a great time to demonstrate to our peer institutions what our program is about, and what we can do.”
James Jones ‘20 led the men, running a blistering time of 26:03.7 on the challenging course. His stellar performance placed him fourth out of a field of 123 runners, earning him First Team All-NESCAC Honors. All-NESCAC Honors is a prestigious achievement awarded to student-athletes who both place amongst the top fourteen runners in the conference meet and are in good academic standing. The fact that Jones is able to achieve such an accomplishment as a first-year illuminates an exciting future for him.
Jones was followed by Ferguson-Hull who placed 27th with a time of 26:51.6. The next three Bates runners, Zach Magin ‘18 and Jack Kiely ‘18, and captain Joe Doyle ‘17, finished within 20 seconds of each other, showcasing the driven pack mentality this team has. Magin finished in 34th place, followed by Doyle in 47th and Kiely in 51st.
Although the men had hoped to place higher in their conference meet, they feel ready and confident going into the remainder of the championship season. They will next compete at the NCAA Regional Championships at Westfield State University in Westfield, Massachusetts on November 12.
“While the result may not have been the one we were looking for, our main goal is to perform well at the nationals qualifying meet (NE Regionals)” says Jones. “I feel that we’re in a good position to be competitive on that day.”
“It isn’t a lack of preparation or skill,” added Ferguson-Hull. “Hopefully we can use this meet as a learning experience and perform like we know we can at Regionals in two weeks.”