BRUNSWICK, Maine -- The No. 24 nationally ranked Bates women's cross country team received All-New England performances from seniors Katie Barker and Ayden Eickhoff, and finished in sixth place out of 57 teams at the NCAA New England Regional Championships on Saturday at Bowdoin.
Bates will again look for an at-large team invitation to next Saturday's NCAA Division III Championships, to be held in Winneconne, Wis., with the field to be announced Sunday afternoon by the NCAA selection committee. The Bobcats compete in the largest and most competitive of the eight Division III regions around the country.
"We ran really well today and moved up well during the race," said head coach Jennifer "Jay" Hartshorn. "We beat a number of teams at the Pre-National race in Oshkosh (in October) that finished high in their regions today. That should be enough to get us to the NCAAs as a sixth-place team in our region."
Bates scored 187 points, 27 points behind fifth-place Tufts (159) and four points ahead of seventh-place Colby (191). Coast Guard (235), Bowdoin (300) and WPI (301) rounded out the top 10. MIT (87) and Middlebury (108) earned automatic selection to NCAAs; Williams (115) was third and Brandeis (136) was fourth.
Barker (Burlington, Vt.), who has led Bates in each race this season, earned her first career All-New England honor by placing ninth overall among 407 runners. She covered the 6-kilometer course in 22:11.25. She is guaranteed at least an individual invitation to NCAAs.
Eickhoff (Corvallis, Mont.) took 18th place in 22:26.86, her second All-New England performance in as many years. Both Barker and Eickhoff earned All-NESCAC honors at the conference championships two weeks ago.
Sophomore Abby Hamilton (Yarmouth, Maine) took 40th place, five places shy of All-New England status, with a time of 22:56.30. Seniors Sarah Rothmann (Andover, Mass.) and Wendy Memishian (Medway, Mass.) both submitted their best career performances at NCAA Regionals to round out Bates' scoring. Rothmannn placed 56th (23:13.49) and Memishian was 64th (23:20.95). Bates' two displacers were first-year Tara Ellard (Brewster, Mass.) in 72nd place (23:28.36) and junior Olivia LaMarche (Lynnfield, Mass.) in 99th (23:54.87).
The top two teams in the eight NCAA regional championships automatically go on to compete at NCAAs, and there are 16 at-large teams also selected to compete. Bates earned its fourth-ever team berth into the national championship in 2016 after also placing fifth, but missed selection last year with another fifth-place showing at Regionals.
Hosted by Wisconsin-Oshkosh, the NCAA Division III Women's Cross Country Championship race starts at 11am Central time at Lake Breeze Golf Club in Winneconne, Wis.