This past Saturday, the Bowdoin men’s track and field team won the Indoor Maine State Meet for the first time since 2012. The Polar Bears tallied 175 points to top University of Southern Maine (USM) (148), Bates (147), Colby (81) and St. Joseph’s (1). The week before, the team rolled over Colby and New England College (NEC) in their final indoor invitational of the season.

The team’s success has been largely the result of smart training techniques and strong leadership.

“This is the time of year when we put a high premium on simulating competition in our training,” Head Coach Peter Slovenski said.

The emphasis on simulating competition is in stark contrast to the team’s training regimen earlier in the season.

According to Slovenski, “cross-training, slower training with greater volume, and other activities such as swimming” dominate the early-season training. This not only builds endurance, but also helps the athletes stay healthy. Staying healthy is often a real challenge for distance runners, many of whom are in season year-round.

“We emphasize cross-training a lot to keep the three season runners mentally and physically fresh,” Slovenski said.

The pre-season extended workouts have so far payed extreme dividends for the team. The Polar Bears have won three of the four meets they have competed in this winter season. The one week it did not come out on top, the team finished second in a field of eight to powerhouse Massachussettes Institute of Technology. Last year, the Polar Bears did not win a second meet until the second week of April.

Among the individual standouts for Bowdoin were Matt Jacobson ’17 and Brian Greenberg ’18. Jacobson, who won the 3000m run by more than two seconds, was named the Track Performer of the Meet, and Greenberg, who won the Long Jump and the Triple Jump, was honored with the Field Performer of the Meet award.

Although most of the events are competed in individually, the camaraderie and depth of this year’s team helped it defeat three-time defending champions of the Maine State Meet, Bates.

“When everyone is getting excited and pumping me up and cheering me on and I feel like the whole team is coming together and supporting each other and it’s been really exciting,” said Jacobson.”

“The state meet rewards teams that have a lot of depth. We have a lot of depth and maybe as many as 30 athletes will score in the state meet,” said Slovenski. 

The Polar Bears will compete in the Dave Hemery Invitational tomorrow before starting their postseason play the following weekend at the New England Division III’s. While a great team performance catipulted the team last weekend, it will have to rely more on its individual talent if it hopes to continue its recent winning tradition in the weeks to come.

“The New Englands rewards teams that have more of the all-star caliber athletes so the people that are getting first or second in the state meet, they have to step up and be ready to place at the New England Division III meet. That’s what it takes,” said Slovenski.