The men's track team will compete against rivals Colby, Bates and University of Southern Maine (USM) this weekend with the Maine State Championship on the line. The meet, to be held at Colby, begins the most competitive portion of the track season.

The Polar Bears are defending state champions and hope to repeat their achievement, despite an expected third place finish in the preliminary seeding. It is the second-oldest annual meet in college track and field, and the team hopes to continue a tradition of fierce competition.

The men will be coming off an intense Wildcat Invitational, held last weekend at the University of New Hampshire. Despite some strong D-I athletes and a strong wind, the team had some good finishes to set them up for the state meet.

"Every event was affected by the cold and the wind," said Coach Peter Slovenski, "so it was good for the team to compete so well in tough conditions. We have to be ready for any weather in spring track, so we got some practice at competing in cold weather."

Senior Kyle Hebert placed second in the 400-meter with what has become his typical come-from-behind finish. Sophomore Colin Fong placed third in the 800-meter, followed closely by teammates Brett Stein '12 and Tim Prior '11. This trio looks to be very competitive at Colby.

In the field events, captain Colin Hay '10 and sophomore Mason Moss picked up third place finishes in the long jump and javelin, respectively.

Riker Wikoff '12 captured first place in the 400-meter hurdles, in a very close race.

"Riker made smart adjustments during his race," Slovenski said. "He had to keep his steps against the head wind on the backstretch, and then he had to stay in his rhythm with the tail wind on the homestretch. He was able to attack all the hurdles on both sides of the track."

Also placing at the top in his event was senior captain Thompson Ogilvie, who took first place for the second week in a row in the 5000-meter.

"The wind posed some problems, but you just had to put your head down and cut threw it," Ogilvie said. "I quickened the pace with two miles to go thinking that the other racers were intimidated by the wind and wouldn't go with me. Fortunately, I was correct and gapped the chase pack. With half a mile to go I had a lead of around 75 meters and cruised in for the win."

This weekend will be the first time the men have seen Bates, Colby and USM since the indoor season. At the indoor Maine state meet, Bowdoin had a close second-place finish, only five points behind winner USM. This weekend the men will have an opportunity for revenge.

Looking ahead to the meet, Ogilvie remains optimistic.

"A lot of people see the forecast of inclement weather for Saturday and see it as something that will hinder their performance," he said. "I have no doubt the other teams are thinking that way. Bowdoin is different because we will embrace the inclement weather, it's polar bear weather!"