Six runners earn All-American honors
When most Bowdoin students were fleeing the cold and stress, six hardcore young men from the indoor track team did the opposite. They decided to fly to the frozen tundra of Wisconsin to take on the best track athletes in the land at Indoor Track Nationals at Wisconsin-Whitewater.
When the results were in, all six of these men-James Wilkins '04, Andrew Combs '06, Brian Laurits '04, Greg Bangser '04, Greydon Foil '05, and Phil Webster '04-each held an All-American plaque triumphantly in their hands.
Senior captain Wilkins was the first to win the career-defining award by placing fourth in the high jump with a leap of 6'8." Wilkins led the team for the entire season with his exemplary leadership and standout performances, and he avenged a narrow miss of All-American status last winter.
Combs was the next in line to compete in the 1500-meter trials. After a long hibernation to recover from midterms, Combs arrived at the trials with the intention of running just hard enough to qualify for the final. He did just that, cruising for a qualifying spot and keeping his season alive for another day.
The finals of the 1500-meter were an all-out war. Combs fought, literally, for position for six laps before catching a glimpse of daylight and breaking for the front of the pack. Combs's late charge was incredible, as he covered 400 meters of the race in less than 60 seconds. Each powerful stride brought him closer to the leader, and he crossed the line in fourth overall in a time of 3:53.81, 1.4 seconds away from first place. It is Combs' first All-American award in an already impressive career.
The other four men at Nationals were those taking part in the 4x400-meter relay. These grumpy old men have endured a challenging season, and the greatest challenge they have faced has been simultaneously staying healthy long enough to run the race together. Luckily, these grizzled veterans managed to keep themselves intact long enough this season to toe the line in the prelims of the relay.
Qualifying for the finals was extremely challenging, but the men were up for it. Captain Laurits led his team of Bangser, Foil, and Webster to a 3:19.08 clocking, just ahead of a fiery Central College squad for a qualifying position in the final.
The men had less than 24 hours to repair their aching bodies, but when it came down to the finals, they were once again ready to go. Laurits and Webster ran blistering splits en route to a 3:20.86 clocking, good for eighth place and four coveted All-American certificates.
Bowdoin College, as a team, finished tied for 18th place. Each man that qualified for the Bears excelled on the grandest stage in Division III Track and Field, exemplifying the uncompromising competitiveness that defines the team as a whole.
The team is bursting with pride about the way these men in black competed, and this success and enthusiasm promises to carry over to the outdoor season, which kicks off on April 10 at MIT.
For information on sending a letter to the editor, please click here.
Features Opinion A&E Sports