Women’s, men’s track teams continue dominance at indoor state meet

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Bates’ indoor track teams continued their dominance in the state of Maine, as both the men and women’s teams secured state titles over the weekend at the Maine state meet in Gorham.

The women came out on top at the annual meet for the fourth consecutive year, blowing away the competition and outscoring second place USM 215.5 to 155.5.  The men’s path proved more challenging, winning a close and competitive meet by nine points over second place Bowdoin, 186-175. For the men, this victory gives them four Maine state championships over the last five years.

The women’s team, on their way to a relatively easy meet win, broke three state meet records in the process. Jess Wilson ‘17 ran a sub five minute mile, setting a new state meet mark, while Sally Ceesay ‘18 set a new record in the triple-jump with a distance of 38’ 4”, while Ali Hill ‘17 broke the 55 meter hurdles record by 12 hundredths of a second.

On the men’s side, their meet victory was as exciting as it was improbable. “The team across all events stepped up and collectively put together what we feel was our best overall effort of the season so far” said pole-vaulter Blake Downey ‘17, who set a personal record in the event on his way to a second place finish. According to Downey, projections calculated by their coaching staff based on previous personal bests had the men’s team projected to lose to Bowdoin by 26 points.

“There were so many standout performances across the board, but what it all came down to was that each guy stepped up to either meet or exceed expectations,” he said. According to Downey, of the 59 men on the indoor roster, an incommensurate 61 personal bests were tallied at the meet, leading to the impressive 35 point swing from the initial projections.

Having that many athletes exceed their previous levels of performance is bordering on an athletic miracle. With the New England Championships two weeks away, and NCAAs over a month away, Downey is confident the team is peaking at the right time. “Looking ahead we have a lot of work to do, but the whole team is peaking at the right time and everyone is setting personal bests every week.”

The steady leadership from this team’s senior captains is likely another important facet of this team’s impressive performance last weekend. Patrick Griffin ‘17, who was named most valuable track athlete of the meet, won the 800 meter race with a time of 1:55.62, and ran one of the legs of the 4×800 meter relay, which Bates also won. Similarly, captain Jeff Jones ‘17 finished second in the triple-jump, bounding to a distance of 45’ 5.25”.

Both teams will travel to Boston University this weekend for the David Hemery Valentine Invitational.

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