WINNECONNE, Wis. and BRUNSWICK, Maine -- The No. 24 nationally ranked Bates women's cross country team placed 12th out of 52 teams Saturday at Wisconsin-Oshkosh's Pre-Nationals Meet, outracing six nationally ranked squads on the course where the NCAA Division III Championships will be held in November.
All 11 teams that scored ahead of the Bobcats are nationally ranked, and with 398 points, Bates outscored five other top-35 teams, including three teams ranked ahead of the Bobcats this week. Defeated opponents included No. 21 Otterbein (409), No. 20 Wartburg (456), No. 25 St. Olaf (497), No. 32 St. Thomas (Minn.) (518), and No. 23 North Central (Ill.) (532).
"We moved up well through the race," said head coach Jay Hartshorn. "It was nice to beat a few teams ranked in front of us. Hopefully that will help us later in the year."
With 355 runners in the stacked field, Bates put all of its top five among the top 134. Senior Katie Barker (Burlington, Vt.) led the way for the fourth time in as many races this season, covering the 6-kilometer course in 22:49.1, good for 31st place overall.
Junior Olivia LaMarche (Lynnfield, Mass.) finished 52nd (23:11.2), followed by sophomore Abby Hamilton (Yarmouth, Maine) who took 72nd place (23:30.0) despite losing both of her shoes in the mud near the 2-mile mark.
Senior captain Sarah Rothmann (Andover, Mass.) in 109th place (23:53.1) and senior Wendy Memishian (Medway, Mass.) in 134th place (24:09.2). Senior captain Ayden Eickhoff (Corvallis, Mont.) was right behind in 137th place (24:10.1), and sophomore Vanessa Paolella (Dingmans Ferry, Pa.) in 206th place (24:51.2).
Each team was limited to seven runners in the Pre-National race, due to muddy course conditions, but three more Bates runners competed in the Women's Open 6K.
First-year Tara Ellard (Brewster, Mass.) led the Bobcats with a seventh-place finish out of 328 runners, in a time of 23:55.9. Senior Hannah Austin (North Yarmouth, Maine) took 39th place in 24:38.2 and first-year Loren Andrews (Wellesley, Mass.) came in 43rd place (24:43.3).
Team members who didn't make the trip to Wisconsin competed in the Bowdoin Invitational, taking fourth place in an eight-team field.
First-year Emily Carty (Sweden, Maine) led the Bobcats in eighth place among 93 runners overall, covering the 6-kilometer course in 24:12.3. Senior Elly Bengtsson (Freeport, Maine) placed 18th (24:39.4), followed by first-year Carly Harris (Orinda, Calif.) in 24th (24:54.8), with the scoring top five rounded out by junior Daniella Pascucci (Needham, Mass.) in 28th (25:10.9) and first-year Margaret O'Brien (Bristol, R.I.) in 34th (25:26.9).
Bates next races in the NESCAC Championship, hosted by Tufts at Franklin Park in Boston, at 12pm.