The men and women’s cross country teams impressed by taking first and second place respectively at last weekend’s Wesleyan Invitational.
On the men’s side, there was stiff competition from both Wesleyan and Johnson and Wales University; many of the runners from both of those schools had qualified as All-New England runners last year.
During the first mile of the race, the Bowdoin men were spread tenth through fifteenth. Not until the third mile did the top five runners move up to the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth places. By the fifth mile, Nick Saba ’14, Sam Seekins ’14, Coby Horowitz ’14, Kevin Hoose ’15, and Greg Talpey ’14 managed to take the lead, winning the race with only milliseconds between each other.
“Our five man spread in the men’s lineup has been terrific. Good teams are usually only 50 or 60 seconds apart from the first to the fifth man,” said Coach Peter Slovenski about  the men’s remarkable ability to keep pace with each other. 
In addition to those leading the  weekend’s race, Slovenski said that recent progress by both James Boeding ’14 and Marcus Schneider ’13 suggests that they will have positive impacts in the next races.
On the women’s side, Wesleyan, Smith, and Connecticut College have traditionally been considered by some to be fast teams in previous seasons. Wesleyan managed to take first with Bowdoin’s Olivia MacKenzie ’13 only 2.7 seconds behind. 
MacKenzie and Madelena Rizzo ’14 were in fifteenth place running together during the first mile; it was not until the third mile that they managed to scoot up into a three-way tie with Wesleyan runner Julia Marks.
“Madelena and Olivia looked very strong running together—I think they’ll have even better kicking phases in the last month of the season,” said Slovenski, referring to the last stretch of the race.
Overall, Slovenski believes that the women’s team has good depth but that the gap between the number two and three spots needs to be closed. 
“I think the runners in places three through six will keep improving as the season goes on,” he said.
According to Slovenski, Wesleyan’s hilly course proved challenging for his team, giving the Cardinals a solid homecourse advantage. For the rest of the season, the Polar Bears will be training and running on flat and fast courses, and Slovenski said he hopes the women will can  catch the Wesleyan’s team when they meet again.
According to Slovenski, the success of the Polar Bears has largely been carried by upperclassmen runners. 
“I think the men’s and women’s first year runners are still adjusting to college training, dorm life, and college cross country courses,” said Slovenski.
The Polar Bears will not compete again until October 7 at the Open New England Championship. At the championship, between 30 and 40 teams will be competing. Slovenski hopes that Bowdoin will be able to get within the top 10 or 15 teams.