Thursday, April 24, 2014
BY GARY HAWKINS Staff Writer
Sam Seekins is peaking at the right time.
The Erskine Academy graduate and Bowdoin College junior is in Terre Haute, Ind. this weekend with his teammates for the NCAA Division III cross country championships. Seekins is coming off a banner performance at the New England championships last Saturday when he finished second, less than a tenth of a second behind teammate Coby Horowitz.
Seekins and Horowitz ran side by side over the final half mile in last week's race until they were challenged by Middlebury's Jack Davies, who passed Seekins late in the race.
"I re-passed him in the last few meters," said Seekins, who beat Davies by just more than a tenth of a second.
Bowdoin finished second to Middlebury to earn at automatic bid to the nationals. The two teams are among five from the New England Small College Athletic Conference to qualify for the nationals along with Bates, Williams and Tufts. It's been a strong year for Seekins who finished first in two races, third at the Wesleyan Invitational and fifth at the NESCAC meet. He also finished 19th in the New England Open which includes Div. I and Div. II schools.
"I'm peaking at just the right time," Seekins said. "I'm ready to have a good race."
Bowdoin finished 14th last year at the nationals and is aiming for a better finish Saturday and Seekins believes the Polar Bears can finished in the top 10. He'd also like to finish in the top 35 which would give him All-American status. The flat wide open course suits his style, too.
"I'm definitely shooting for All-American," he said. "I think that's within my reach."
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Madison graduate Matt McClintock and Hall-Dale graduate Wade Davis are also competing in Terre Haute on Saturday. McClintock is one of two Purdue University runners competing in the Division I race. Last Saturday he placed seventh overall and second among non-team affiliate runners at the Great Lakes Regional to earn an automatic bid.
McClintock was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year this fall after finishing eighth at the conference championships. He was the top runner for the Boilermakers in every race this season and posted two individual wins.
Davis is a senior at Williams and will compete with the Ephs in the Div. III race. He placed 14th at the NESCAC meet, second at the Vassar Invitational and third at the Little 3 meet.
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Colby senior Berol Dewdney of Chester, Vt., is competing in the women's Div. III nationals Saturday.
Dewdney has earned three All-New England honors and was twice on the New England Small College Athletic Conference First Team, but will race in the national meet for the first time. She placed 11th in the New England Div. II meet, sixth at the NESCAC meet and third at the State of Maine meet.
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Waterville Senior High School senior Tiana Thomas recently received the Tyra Collette Award given to the state's most improved female runner. The award was selected by Sam Bonsey who writes for the website milesplit.com.
Thomas finished 13th at the Class B state meet, a year after finishing 79th. She also took third at the Mt. Blue Relays, 44th at the Festival of Champions and 13th at the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B championships.
"She's just a focused and dedicated kid," Waterville coach Rob Stanton said. "She had a good season last year and just built on it. She put in a lot of good work over the summer and it really paid off for her."
Winslow's Molly Schassberger finished second for the award while Maranacook's Caroline Colan placed third. Both are seniors.
Gary Hawkins -- 621-5638