After a 2019 season in which the men’s and women’s track and field teams finished sixth and third, respectively, at NESCAC Championships, both teams have started the 2020 season with a bang.
The women’s team jumped out to a fantastic start, coasting to two emphatic first-place finishes under the guidance of new head coach Lara-Jane Que. In the Bowdoin Invitational I, the women’s team tallied a staggering 232 points, good enough for a 148-point margin of victory. In the second invitational, the Polar Bears totaled 208 more points while on their way to a 74-point win over second-place Merrimack.
Sophomore Lydia Pitts stressed the impact that Coach Que has already had on the team.
“I think that a lot of our success has been because of our coaches … Coach [Que] is amazing, and she’s been really great at recruiting and super intentional with the way she’s had us train. It’s helped us a lot,” said Pitts.
Pitts noted the return of several key contributors from injury, such as Angela Wallace ’22 and Brittney McKinley ’21, who took first place in both the 60-meter dash and the 200-meters event at the Bowdoin Invitational II.
“[The team has] big goals for the state meet. We hope to beat Bates, which is always our big competition,” said Pitts.
Pitts continued, “But we are such a strong team and have so much more to improve.”
After this weekend’s home meet, the Polar Bears will hit the road for three consecutive away meets, heading down to Boston twice in the process.
On paper, Que could not have asked for a better start to her Bowdoin coaching career, and these early results point to good things going forward in her mind.
“The team’s strong start only solidifies my hope that this team is going to accomplish some big things this season,” Que wrote in an email to the Orient.
After running for the University of Rhode Island and coaching track and field at Smith College, Que has made her way to Bowdoin, where her “boundless energy” has already begun to captivate her team’s athletes, according to Pitts.
Heading into the first few meets of the season, Que instructed her athletes to view the Invitationals as practice.
“[They are] opportunities to build good habits and break bad ones,” said Que.
“One of our team pillars is joy and positivity,” wrote Que. “I shared with them the importance of having fun, being present with your teammates, and enjoying being in uniform again.”
The men’s team secured first-place finishes in each of its first two meets. In the season-opening Bowdoin Invitational I, Troy Green ’22 and John Auer ’23 each won two individual events. Green took victory in both the 60-meter and 200-meter dash events, while Auer swept the 1-mile and 800-meter races. By the meet’s end, the Polar Bears had completed a highly impressive 207 point performance, coasting into first place by a 134-point margin.
In the Bowdoin Invitational II, the competition proved far tougher. Ultimately, key performances from Luca Ostertag-Hill ’20, who won the 800-meter and 1-mile races, and Mason Freeman ’22, who secured first place in the 60-meter dash and long jump events, propelled the Polar Bears to a thrilling one-point team win.
“I love the team’s mentality and overall support this season. I feel like we are truly coming together to cheer each other on and give each other the confidence and reassurance we need to go out each week and perform to the best of our abilities,” wrote Freeman in an email o\to the Orient.
The men’s long jumpers had a particularly successful weekend, with Freeman and three other athletes sweeping the first four spots at the meet, proving critical in the narrow contest.
“Our long jump squad is stacked with talent, and I think at any given meet we could sweep the top four spots in long jump,” wrote Freeman. “My overall expectations of the first two meets were simply to go out and do my absolute best, and I know my teammates have the exact same mentality.”
Both teams will return to the heat of competition this coming weekend, taking on Thomas College and University of Maine-Farmington tomorrow at home at 1 p.m..