Women's cross country team selected for NCAA Championships

Bates women's cross country will compete as a team at the NCAA Championships for the fourth time in program history on Nov. 19, 2016 in Louisville, Ky. (File photo by Russ Dillingham for Bates College)

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Bates College women's cross country team received official word Sunday that it will compete at the NCAA Division III Championship, taking place Saturday in Louisville, Kentucky.

After placing fifth out of 59 teams at yesterday's NCAA New England Regionals, the No. 8 nationally ranked Bobcats received one of 16 at-large team bids from the NCAA selection committee. Thirty-two teams in all will compete for the team title.

This will be the fourth time in program history that Bates will compete as a team at NCAAs -- previous excursions netted a 19th-place team finish in 2012, 15th place in 1997 and 18th place in 1995.

Bates will be racing at Louisville's E.P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park for the second time this fall. The Bobcats competed there in the Louisville Cross Country Classic (also known as "Division III Pre-Nationals") on Oct. 1. At that meet the unranked Bobcats began their ascent up the national rankings by outracing three nationally ranked teams and finishing second out of 39 teams.

Each team competes with seven runners and brings an alternate. Bates' squad will comprise three All-New England selections from Saturday's NCAA Regionals, in senior captain Jessica Wilson (Cumberland, Maine), junior Katherine Cook (South Burlington, Vt.) and first-year Olivia LaMarche (Lynnfield, Mass.). Wilson and Cook both received All-NESCAC awards this season as well, helping Bates finish third in the conference championship meet.

Sophomore Katie Barker (Burlington, Vt.) and senior captain Molly Chisholm (Wayland, Mass.) have also consistently run among the team's top five this year; they'll be joined by junior Mary Szatkowski (Buxton, Maine), sophomore Sarah Rothmann (Andover, Mass.) and sophomore alternate Wendy Memishian (Medway, Mass.).

The championships will be streamed live on ncaa.com.

DIII Cross Country: Men's and women's championship qualifiers announced (NCAA.com)