After getting a preview of the State Meet course two weeks ago, the men's cross country team will get another chance to run the course this weekend. This time around, however, there will be much more at stake when Bowdoin competes at the Maine State Meet this Saturday hosted at Colby.

The meet will feature six other Maine teams including heated rivals Bates and Colby, along with the University of Southern Maine, who is ranked No. 1 in New England and heads into the race as the overwhelming favorite.

Nevertheless, the Polar Bears refuse to be considered a non-factor in the field. After all, they are the four-time defending state champions.

"We have won this race four years in a row so we will definitely not go down without a fight," said senior captain Colman Hatton. "The Colby course is definitely a tough one with a couple of big hills. The last two weeks we have done a lot of hill workouts that have really made us a lot stronger, especially on tough courses like Colby."

As if they needed any extra incentives to race their hearts out on Saturday, the Bears look to regain their stride this Saturday, and rebound from their disappointing showing at the Open New England Championship held at Franklin Park in Boston last Saturday.

Despite an unfamiliar field that was packed with teams from D-I and D-II schools, Bowdoin still finished 22nd out of 47.

Hatton led the way with an outstanding performance in which he placed 27th overall. Thompson Ogilvie '10 finished 71st, while Stan Berkow '11 finished 111th to round out the top scorers for Bowdoin.

"Colman Hatton had a fantastic race. He does the best preparation, and he is learning how to run in big races," said Head Coach Peter Slovenski. "There's a lot of traffic in big races, and Colman has figured out how to maneuver and find a rhythm even in big crowds of runners."

Despite a strong showing from its top runners, Bowdoin feels that there is still work to be done if the team hopes to post its best times down the stretch.

"We didn't prepare as well as we should have for this race," said Slovenski. "Some of our key guys looked tired, and got lost in the race. We'll rest up more, and be ready for crowded races later in the season."

In what will be the first race of the championship stretch on Saturday, the Bears believe they will be ready to peak physically and mentally when things matter the most.

"We have been fine tuning our running right now," said Ogilvie. "We're focusing more on speed and visualizing a hilly course. The hard work we've done in the first half of the season will hopefully pay off this weekend. We're looking forward to racing well on Saturday."

"This weekend we really just have to be much tighter, especially in the last few miles of the race," added Hatton. "There are not as many runners at the state meet so you really have to get tough and beat the few guys around you since every place makes difference in the scoring."