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Men’s and women’s cross country teams rank first in season opener

September 8, 2023

Courtesy of Brian Beard
KICKIN' UP DUST: The women’s cross country team powers up with inspirational words from Head Coach Ben Raphelson.

The Bowdoin cross country team kicked off its season by taking first place in the Colby-Bowdoin-Bates (CBB) Wave Race this Wednesday at Pineland Farms.

“It’s cool to make a statement even at such a small meet and put ourselves on the radar,” Sam Angevine ’24 said. “Bates has … in recent memory been the better team between the three Maine schools.”

Bowdoin dominated the rankings. The men’s team had the top six finishers, and the women’s team placed seven runners in the top ten. The team expects this strong performance to continue as the season progresses.

“As a team, we’re very excited,” captain Matthew Audi ’24 said. “Last year, we had a fairly young team, and so I think we could be really competitive this year in the conferences and region.”

The course was slightly shorter than the season’s usual distances, with the women’s team running 2.8 miles and the men 3.8 miles. Head Coach Ben Raphelson described the CBB race as a dress rehearsal. Nevertheless, the results served as a confidence boost for the athletes.

“It was cool to see so many Bowdoin jerseys up at the top,” Angevine said. “[It’s] encouraging for the rest of the season.”

Despite high temperatures and hilly terrain, the team pushed through and achieved a better performance than last year.

Audi credits the team’s success to pack running, a strategy it tested this race and plans to continue in future races.

“Through the first half, [we ran] in packs, trying to be as comfortable as possible [but] still racing hard,” Audi said. “Then, in the second half [we tried] to run a negative split.”

The Bowdoin runners enjoyed working together to achieve better individual times and are excited to see how this new strategy will propel them forward.

“I think running with teammates and working together is going to play a pretty critical role in our success this year and how well we do as a team,” Angevine said.

Raphelson emphasized the close community in Bowdoin’s cross country team.

“[I] encourage them to really be invested in their teammates…. Everyone wants supportive teammates,” Raphelson said. “But the flip side of that coin is you then have to be a supportive teammate to the people around you. I think people have internalized that, and it’s just a positive, egalitarian approach to people feeling supported and valued.”

The team enjoys and embraces cultivating close bonds with each other during their training runs.

“[When we go running], everyone is so excited to talk about everything under the sun: their day, their classes, how they’re feeling, funny stories, podcasts, books,” Tori Bacall ’26 said. “Sometimes, we don’t even notice we’re running because we’re enjoying each other’s company so much.”

As another season commences, many of the upperclassmen are excited to help first-year students acclimate to cross country in college.

“[First-year students’] success is often a reflection of how we use the team to support them because of all these new things flying at them [such as] new distances and new school,” Audi said.

The team hopes to maintain their desire to compete as a group as it looks toward larger meets.

“It’s awesome if you have a good individual race, but the fun is when you hear Bowdoin called as the winning team,” Angevine said.

The cross country team will return to Pineland Farms on September 16 for the Bates Invitational.


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