Six Bobcats qualify for NCAA championships
Midway through the winter season, six Bates College student athletes have qualified for the NCAA Division III championships. Three students from the swimming and diving teams have qualified, as have three from the indoor track and field teams.
The Bobcats’ most recent qualifiers were a pair of first-year members of the women’s swimming and diving team. First-year diver Kara Seaton of Wayne, Pa., has broken school diving records in three of the Bobcats’ six meets this season. Against CBB rival Colby College on Jan. 19, she established a new school record in the 3-meter event with a score of 255.60, meeting the NCAA standard for the first time after coming within 10 points on two previous occasions. Seaton also holds the record in the one-meter event, scoring 241.60 in the season’s opening event at Trinity College Nov. 17. She needs to meet the NCAA qualifying standards twice more in the season’s four remaining meets to ensure her berth at the NCAA Division III swimming and diving championships March 14-16 at Miami (Ohio) University.
Seaton’s classmate, Vanessa Williamson of Auburn, Maine, a product of Edward Little High School, has also qualified for two events so far. Against Colby on Jan. 19, she broke her own school record in the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 2:08.50, missing the ‘A’ qualifying standard by just a hundredth of a second. She is ranked 11th in the nation in the event. Williamson also qualified for NCAAs in the 100-yard butterfly against Colby, posting a time of 1:00.08 to place her 34th in the nation.
Senior diver Andrew Hastings of Weston, Mass., has qualified for the NCAA championships multiple times this season. Hastings, a six-time All-American, has only lost once in 11 events he has competed in this season. Most recently, he broke his own school record in the three-meter event Jan. 12 at Babson College with a score of 320.68. It was Hastings’ first NCAA performance on the three-meter board after qualifying several times on the one-meter, including a win over the defending national champion at a Jan. 6 meet against Middlebury College. Hastings is attempting to become the first Bates athlete to win All-America honors in four years in a row.
The Bobcat track and field teams have qualified three student-athletes in the throwing events. Senior captains Jaime Sawler of Stratham, N.H., and Greg Hurley of Arlington, Mass., who both qualified for the NCAA Division III championships earlier in the 2001-02 season, each improved their seeding for the championships at a triangular meet at MIT Jan. 19. Sawler, a two-time All-American in the hammer throw outdoors, qualified automatically for the NCAAs in the 35-pound weight throw with a winning heave of 59 feet, 7 1/2 inches. He is now ranked third in the nation in the event. Sawler will make his third trip to the indoor championships, to be held March 8-9 at Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio. Hurley took second in the weight throw with a toss of 54-6 3/4, improving his season- and career-best performances by nearly two feet. He is currently ranked seventh in the nation.
Sophomore Liz Wanless of Belleville, Ill., is the sixth Bobcat to qualify for the NCAAs. She broke her own record in the shot put with a heave of 42 feet, 11 inches. Wanless took second in the event at the University of Southern Maine Invitational Jan. 12. Wanless set the previous mark of 40-11 in her only meet of the 2000-01 season. She also qualified for the NCAA championships on a provisional basis. She is currently ranked sixth in the nation in the event. Wanless’ toss was one foot shy of the automatic qualifying standard. A trip to the NCAAs would be the second for Wanless, who was a key part of the Bates’ run to the Sweet 16 of the 2000 NCAA Division III volleyball championships.