Bobcats of the week of Feb. 14, 2011

Nick Barron '13
Three members of the No. 9 nationally ranked Bates men's indoor track and field team met provisional qualification standards for the NCAA Division III Championships on Saturday at the BU Valentine Invitational, while a fourth improved upon his already provisional standing.Bates sophomore Nick Barron (Kirkwood, Mo.) ran the mile in 4:13.38, second among all Division III runners at the meet. Barron's time is 1.42 seconds lower than the NCAA's banked-track provisional standard of 4:14.80.

First-years Noah Graboys (Glencoe, Ill.) andTully Hannan (West Hartford, Conn.) both beat the provisional banked-track standard of 14:49.40 in the 5,000. Graboys finished in 14:38.95, 15th out of 65 runners at the meet and first among Division III runners. Hannan was 21st in 14:48.33.

Also at BU, senior Chris Murtagh (Rowley, Mass.) improved upon his provisional qualification status in the weight throw. Murtagh's top heave of 61-03.00 exceeded by a quarter-inch his previous personal best, set on Jan. 29. Murtagh is ranked fifth among all Division III athletes in the weight so far this season.

For Barron, who is also a starting defender on the Bates men's soccer team, the mile at BU represented the second event he has qualified for for NCAA's thus far. On Jan. 30 at the BU Terrier Classic, Barron and three teammates registered a 9:58.10, the banked-track equivalent of a 10:01.10. Barron, senior Ryan Quinn (Watertown, Mass.), sophomore James LePage (Cumberland, Maine) and Hannan recorded a time 8.90 seconds faster than the provo mark, and only 2.10 seconds shy of automatic qualification.

The Bates men's track and field team competes at the New England Division III Indoor Championship this Friday and Saturday at Springfield College. The Bates women will compete at MIT for the women's NED3's.

Meg McClelland '11
Bates seniors Natalie Ruppertsberger(Plainfield, N.H.) andKirsten Gill(Jackson, N.H.) both appear to be on pace to qualify for the NCAA Collegiate Skiing Championship -- Ruppertsberger, who is ranked 12th overall in the East Region, would be making her third appearance, while it would be the first for Gill, who is ranked 15th in the East.Ruppertsberger and Gill have been the mainstays for the juggernaut Bates women's Nordic team -- a squad which, since placing seventh in the first EISA carnival race this season at St. Lawrence, has since placed among the top four teams overall and has been the top Division III squad an astounding seven straight times this season.

But fellow senior Meg McClelland (Keene Valley, N.Y.) may be making a late run for her own place at NCAAs. McClelland started off the second half of the carnival season last weekend in impressive fashion at Dartmouth's Oak Hill course in Hanover, N.H.

In Friday's 5K Freestyle race, the Bates women placed a season-best third out of 10 teams, scoring an even 100 team points for the first time. While Gill finished a career-best fourth in the race, in 14:21.5, Ruppertsberger (10th place) and McClelland (13th place) weren't far behind in 14:41.0 and 14:47.5, respectively, and it was McClelland's performance that enabled the Bobcats to outperform Division I New Hampshire for the first time this year. Junior Beth Taylor (Norwich, Vt.), another Bates NCAA contender, was 23rd, followed by Fisher in 35th and sophomore Gretchen Sellegren (Bozeman, Mont.) in 43rd.

The following day came the 10K Classical Technique race, and McClelland and teammates continued their excellence. Ruppertsberger was 10th, followed by McClelland in 20th and Gill and first-year Andrea Fisher (Williamstown, Mass.) in 23rd and 24th, respectively.

The Bobcats compete this weekend at the Middlebury Carnival, the last carnival before Bates hosts the NCAA Eastern Region Championships Feb. 26-27 at Sunday River (alpine) and Black Mountain (Nordic).