Barker, Eickhoff lead Bates to 5th place at NESCACs with all-conference performances

Senior Katie Barker placed fifth out of 150 runners as Bates placed fifth out of 11 teams at the NESCAC Championships on Oct. 27, 2018 in Boston. (File photo by Jay Burns/Bates College)

BOSTON -- Senior Katie Barker took fifth place and senior Ayden Eickhoff joined her on the All-NESCAC team in 12th place to lead the Bates women's cross country team to fifth place out of 11 teams at the NESCAC Championships on Saturday.

The No. 26 nationally ranked Bobcats finished four points behind fourth-place Tufts, 128 to 124, in recording their fourth consecutive top-five finish at the conference championship race. Middlebury (47) won the team title, followed by Williams (73), Wesleyan (84), Tufts (124), Bates (128), Colby (154), Bowdoin (164), Amherst (213), Hamilton (226) and Trinity (226), and Connecticut College (249).

Barker (Burlington, Vt.) and Eickhoff (Corvallis, Mont.) gave Bates multiple All-NESCAC performers for the third straight year. Barker covered the 6-kilometer course at frigid Franklin Park in 22:37.8, 1.9 seconds behind fourth-place Cassie Kearney of Middlebury, in capturing her first career All-NESCAC honor and landing on the First Team (top seven).

"Katie had a great day," said head coach Jay Hartshorn. "She got out well and put herself in position to move up during the race. In the last three-quarters of a mile, she was still closing hard and caught up to fourth place, then gapped the three women she was runing with by about 10 seconds."

Eickhoff repeated as a Second Team All-NESCAC honoree by taking 12th place in 23:06.8.

"Ayden had her best race of the year and maybe her career," said Hartshorn. "She moved up from her place last year (14th)."

Sophomore Abby Hamilton (Yarmouth, Maine) placed 34th out of 150 runners overall in 23:50.6, leading a pack of Bobcats finishing within a span of 7.4 seconds. Senior Sarah Rothmann (Andover, Mass.) was 38th (23:55.2) and first-year Loren Andrews (Wellesley, Mass.) took 39th place (23:56.1) as Bates' fifth and final scorer. Displacers for Bates were junior Olivia LaMarche (Lynnfield, Mass.) in 40th (23:57.0) and senior Hannah Austin (North Yarmouth, Maine) in 41st (23:58.0).

"We have a great core of runners, and it's exciting that we're heading in a great direction going into our regional meet," said Hartshorn.