Women's cross country preview: Wilson, Cook to lead promising squad

Molly Chisholm co-captains a Bates women's cross country team ready for a strong 2016 campaign. (File photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

LEWISTON, Maine -- Bates distance-running senior Jessica Wilson and junior Katherine Cook both came on strong with outstanding indoor and outdoor track seasons earlier this year. Wilson competed at the both the 2016 indoor and outdoor NCAA Championship meets, while Cook set Bates' 5,000-meter record and became the program's No. 2 all-time 10K runner.

As Bates women's cross country prepares for its first meet, Saturday at the annual Bates-Colby Class Wave Races in Waterville, 11th-year head coach Jay Hartshorn says both Wilson (Cumberland, Maine) and Cook (South Burlington, Vt.) look as good as ever. She sees them neck-and-neck as the Bobcats' top two runners this fall -- which may have something to do with the duo tying for first place in last Saturday's annual alumni race.

Hartshorn says there's a lot to be optimistic about for the coming season, and reason to believe the Bobcats can improve upon last year's fifth-place showing at the NESCAC Championships.

Wilson's fellow co-captain, senior Molly Chisholm (Wayland, Mass.), consistently one of the team's top three or four runners over the past two years, leads a second group expected to comprise the bulk of Bates' scoring at meets this fall. Joining Chisholm in that group are junior Mary Szatkowski (Buxton, Maine) and sophomores Katie Barker (Burlington, Vt.), Sarah Rothmann (Andover, Mass.) and Wendy Memishian (Medway, Mass.).

Also in the Bobcats' mix for scoring and displacing are junior Callie Reynolds (West Hartford, Conn.), sophomore Hannah Austin (North Yarmouth, Maine), as well as all five members of Bates' class of first-year runners: Megan Clark (Manchester, Mass.), Anais Gonzalez (Hanford, Calif.), Olivia LaMarche (Lynnfield, Mass.), Daniella Pascucci (Needham, Mass.) and Hannah Tower (New Milford, Conn.).

Highlights on the team's schedule include a trip to Kentucky for the Louisville Cross Country Classic on Oct. 1 and hosting the Maine State Meet at Pineland on Oct. 15. The Bobcats will hope to return to Louisville and the NCAA Championships as a team, depending on how well they fare at NCAA Regionals in Westfield, Mass., on Nov. 12.