The Tufts National Qualifying “Last Chance” Meet held Saturday, March 3, saw the men’s and women’s track and field teams head down to Medford, MA to try for performances that could send them to the NCAA Indoor Championships. The highly competitive nature of this meet, with each athlete striving to hit national qualifying times, heights, and distances, led to a vivacious atmosphere. Spectators and teammates were enthusiastically supportive, and the Bobcat athletes themselves put forth tremendous efforts. Unfortunately, no performances for this meet provided any more Championship qualifiers for the Bates program. However, several team accomplishments and personal bests were achieved at Tufts this weekend.
Both the men’s and women’s Distance Medley Relays put forth seasonal bests and Top Ten Performance lists. The Men’s DMR team Rob Flynn ’18, Mike Somma ’19, Mark Fusco ’19, and Jack Kiely ’18, running the 1200m, 400m, 800m, and 1600m, respectively, ran a time of 10:02.92. This put them sixth out of nine at the competitive meet, fourteenth in this season’s national rankings (just shy of the required twelfth spot for running in the Championship race), and ninth out of all Bates Men’s DMR performances.
“It went really well. We all ran the fastest times we had all season,” says Somma. “Even though we came up a little short, it was a great experience.” This was certainly a high note for the Men’s DMR to go out on this season.
Likewise, the Women’s Distance Medley Relay had a superb effort, concluding their Indoor Track run with the best performance of the season. Sarah Rothman ’19 in the 1200m, Imani Boggan ’21 in the 400m, So Kim ’21 in the 800m, and Ayden Eickhoff ’19 in the 1600m, all worked together as a determined and powerful team to finish with a time of 12:06.98. They came in fifth out of an incredibly tough field of six, 28 in national rankings, and eighth on the women’s list of Bates all-time performances.
DMRs are a total distance of 4000m, or about 2.5 miles, meaning that the Bobcats’ times for this event were immensely impressive. But not only did they achieve fantastic times, they also gained valuable and enjoyable experiences from running at such a tough meet. As Eickhoff stated: “I enjoyed having a final opportunity to compete alongside my teammates this weekend. Although the result wasn’t there in the end, we did what we could and had fun doing it.”
The men’s pole vault saw standout performances from Garrett Anderson ’18, who won the event with a height of 15 feet, 3.5 inches, and David Dick ’18, coming in sixth at 13 feet, 9.75 inches. There were also strong efforts in the weight throw, with Adedire Fakorede ’18 throwing 61 feet, 7.75 inches, Zach Campbell ’19 sending it 50 feet, 11 inches for a personal best, and John Rex ’21 making a seasonal best with 50 feet, 4.5 inches. The 5000m also included two highlight performances from Justin Levine ’20, who set a substantial personal best of 15:06.38, and Zach Magin ’18 at 15:14.28—they came in third and fourth, respectively. “It felt great to see the work that I’ve been putting in all year pay off, and it gave me a confidence that will carry on into future seasons,” commented Levine.
For the women’s team, there were also remarkable efforts in individual events. The long jump saw two substantial achievements by the Bobcats, with Srishti Sunil ’18 coming in third with a distance of 5.47m, and Sally Ceesay ’18 in fourth with 5.46m. In the weight throw, Katie Hughes ’19 threw 44 feet, 11.5 inches to come in fifth out of nine at Tufts.
Although none of these results will send any Bobcats to the national NCAA Championship Meet, to be held between March 9 and 10 at Birmingham Southern-College in Alabama, they provided a great experience for these Bates athletes and let them display their talent and effort. Luckily, some Bobcats had already qualified before Tufts, and will be going to Birmingham. For the men’s team, Fakorede is going for the weight throw and Kiely will be racing the mile, and on the women’s team Katherine Cook ’18 will compete in the 3000m and 5000m, Eickhoff is going to participate in the 800m, and Ceesay is going for the triple jump.