Last weekend, the men’s (85 points) and women’s (60 points) track and field teams finished fifth and sixth respectively at the NESCAC Championship meet hosted at Connecticut College. Both teams surpassed their projected point totals (56 points for the men, 51 points for the women) heading into the meet, finishing above Maine rivals Colby College and Bates College. Justin Whitney ’25 and Lars Sorom ’26 both became NESCAC Champions by taking first place in the triple jump (13.73m) and 800m (1:55.51s), respectively.
The NESCAC Championship is one of the teams’ most important races of the season, as it marks the final meet where the teams focus on gaining the most points instead of improving their individual performances.
“NESCACs is one of the biggest team meets of the year, but it’s still a 200 meter race. It’s still a 1500 meter. We’re not doing anything crazy leading into it, but we really focused on honing in on the process and what we’ve been able to do leading up to it,” Head Coach LJ Que said.
This energy and excitement continued throughout the weekend, and many Polar Bears exceeded expectations.
“This team surprises me in so many ways, but I had a feeling in my stomach something wonderful was going to happen this week. I was so impressed with everyone’s focus and everyone’s energy leading into it,” Que said. “Individual athletes outperformed their seed entering the meet. The weather was cold and rainy, but I think our team really leaned into it. I jokingly said to the team in the team meeting that this is polar bear weather. We know how to compete in this.”
Women’s captain Leila Trummel ’23 emphasized the importance of team spirit in fighting the poor weather.
“It was cold at certain points, but Bowdoin was out there. Bowdoin was out there, and they were out and they were proud,” Trummel said. “I genuinely think that’s what led our women’s team to a lot of success.”
Bowdoin had a handful of standout performances from runners on both teams. Ajay Olson ’23 took second place in both the 100m and 200m, and William Warlick ’24 took third in the 110 hurdles. Sam Angevine ’24, Max Russo ’24 and Ben Bockmann ’25 all placed fourth in their respective races. Trummel placed fourth in the 1500m, and Cianna O’Flaherty ’23 and Lauren Traum ’24 finished sixth in the 400m and 800m, respectively.
These track performances culminated in an impressive showing by the distance runners on each team. The men’s distance team scored 23 points, compared to the three it earned at last year’s championships.
“Momentum just kind of built throughout some of the early distance races. Times came in, and the men’s and women’s sides were doing really well,” Bockmann said.
Every point paid off, as the men’s final results came down to the last race. Bowdoin ended up defeating Bates by a singular point.
“It was exciting because we haven’t beat Bates in a long time,” Bockmann said.
On the throws side, Jada Scotland ’23, who returned from an injury this weekend, secured a 37.42m discus throw. Emma Hargreaves ’23 finished third in shot put with a throw of 11.78m and finished second in the hammer-throw with 45.60m.
“[Scotland] was dealing with some injuries leading up to NESCACs. She got cleared to practice, and we entered her in three events. She was our highest point scorer. She scored in all three,” Que said. “For her to be able to turn around and recover from injury to be able to compete and especially as a senior, that was a really special moment for [her].”
As the Polar Bears turn their focus to the New England Division III Championships, they are focusing on perfecting their form and staying healthy.
“Getting the right rest is really important,” Whitney said. “After such an effort, you can’t just go back and turn around really quick and do it again, unless you’re Superman.”
Trummel notes that the teams are very excited for the New England Division III Championships because individual Polar Bears can focus more on their own performances.
“At DIIIs, since we have fewer qualifications, and it’s—in our minds—not our most important championship meet, that’s when I think it’s really fun to be able to focus on people on a more individual level and really sort of hone in on how you individually want to perform,” Trummel said.
Thirty-four Polar Bears have qualified for the New England Division III Championships and will be heading to Springfield College in Springfield, Mass. this weekend. About a dozen students will compete in the New England Intercollegiate Amateur Athletic Association (NEICAAA) Open New England Championship held the following weekend in Boston, Mass.