Bobcats of the week of March 15, 2010

Ben Manter '11
Bates junior Ben Manter(Vassalboro, Maine) claimed 10th place Friday night in the Men's Slalom portion of the NCAA Collegiate Skiing Championships, securing All-America honors. Manter becomes Bates' first downhill skier to win All-America honors sinceKyle Hildebrand '02 andKim Rogers'03 both did so in 2001.Manter's first run checked in at 37.87 seconds, 15th best among the 34 competitors. Conditions were more challenging during the second run, and Manter's time of 38.83 seconds was 10th best, for a combined time of 1:16.70, only .02 seconds behind ninth-place Joshua Kernan of Colby, and the same margin ahead of 11th-place AJ Avrin of Dartmouth.

Bates' combined Nordic and alpine skiing teams, represented by junior Nordic skierNatalie Ruppertsberger (Plainfield, N.H.), sophomore alpine skier Bump Heldman(Auburn, Maine) and Manter scored 98 points in all, good for 16th place out of 22 teams, fourth among Division III teams. It is the fifth top-16 national finish in a row for the Bobcats.

Heldman and Manter, both making their first appearance at the NCAA Championships, finished 24th and 26th, respectively, out of 35 competitors Wednesday in the giant slalom.

Vantiel Elizabeth Duncan '10
A day after she was the national runner-up in the weight throw at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships, Bates senior Vantiel Elizabeth Duncan(Topsham, Maine) finished seventh in the shot put on Saturday to become a five-time NCAA All-American. It was Duncan's first All-America award in the shot put; she owns three in the indoor weight throw and one in the outdoor hammer throw.Duncan is now tied with former teammate Izzy Alexander '09 for the second most All-America honors by a Bates woman, trailing only 16-time All-American Keelin Godsey '06.

Duncan unleashed her best shot put of the day, 45-05.75 (13.86 meters), on her second attempt during preliminary flights, less than three inches shy of the personal best she recorded earlier this season. Duncan's final throw during finals sailed 13.39 meters, her second best attempt of the day but not enough to move farther up from seventh place.

The 10 team points Duncan scored for Bates put the team in a six-way tie for 19th place out of 61 scoring teams.

Friday was Duncan's finest day in an already highlight-rich career, as the senior notched a pair of personal records en route to taking second place in the women's weight throw with a top heave of 60-0.50, or 18.30 meters.

Duncan's first throw of the day soared 58 feet and one quarter-inch, the best of her career by nearly six inches. That effort would ultimately prove to be good enough to place her fifth overall on its own (which would match her No. 5 seeding out of 16 competitors in the event), and it was the best in her flight.

But on Duncan's sixth throw of the day, her third and final effort in the finals, Duncan heaved the weight past the 60-foot mark for the first time in her career, at 60-05.00, or 2 feet and 5 inches beyond her personal best before the day began. The final weight throw of her career (the weight throw is strictly an indoor event) put Duncan second only to the champion, Holly Ozanich of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, and 1 1/2 inches past the best effort of third-place finisher Kristin Constantine of the University of Chicago.

Duncan joined Godsey in the exclusive 60-foot club at Bates. It is the highest NCAA finish yet for Duncan.

On Thursday, the day before the NCAA Championship meet began, Duncan was honored as the New England Women's Field Athlete of the Year, as the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association unveiled its 2010 Division III Region Award Winners for Indoor Track & Field.