The Bates College women’s rowing team won its second consecutive NCAA Division III championship in Sarasota, Florida, on Saturday.

SARASOTA, Florida — The Bates College women’s rowing team won its second consecutive NCAA Division III championship, and third in four years.

Saturday’s national championship was especially sweet, though, because the Bobcats gold medal in both grand finals.

The gold in the first varsity eight is the first in program history. The second varsity eight gold is the Bobcats’ fifth straight.

Bates’ second eight came in second behind Wellesley in Friday’s heat, and Wellesley held a slim lead halfway through Saturday’s race. The Bobcats took a slim lead in the next 500 meters and held that edge through to the finish line, finishing the 2,000-meter course in 6 minutes, 52.037 seconds, less than a second ahead of Wellesley.

“It’s a lot more fun to win when its close like that,” senior coxswain Hanna De Bruyn said in a news release. “When you win by open water you don’t have any adrenaline and you’re just kind of chill. But when it’s close, winning feels a lot more meaningful because you have to fight your hardest.”

With the results of the second eight final and the boats who made the first eight grand final and the points system in place, the only team that could upend Bates’ repeat plans was Wellesley.

The Bobcats’ varsity eight didn’t leave anything up to chance, or the point system. Bates finished more than four seconds ahead of Ithaca to prove who has the fastest crew in Division III.

“Ithaca was up on us for a moment early in the race but the minute I told my rowers they were like ‘no way!’ and surged ahead,” freshman coxswain Elizabeth Folsom said. “During the last 100 meters I could not wait to cross the finish line. I was just screaming inside and yelling, ‘Go! Go! Go!'”

The Bates seniors have now won three national championships, but had yet to win the first varsity eight race at the NCAA championships. In 2015 and 2017, the Bobcats won the second eight race and were runners-up in the first eight race.

“Winning the gold medal at NCAAs for the first time has been on all of our minds in the first varsity eight boat for quite awhile now,” senior captain Olivia Stockly said. “It was just pure joy when we crossed the finish line.”

The Bobcats have made it to the NCAA championships 12 consecutive years. They have finished first or second nine of those years.

College track and field

LA CROSSE, Wis. — Lewiston High School graduate Adela Kalilwa placed 13th in the triple jump at the NCAA Division III outdoor track and field championships at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse on Saturday.

Kalilwa, a sophomore at the University of Southern Maine, jumped 37 feet, 11.5 inches on the first of two flights in the preliminary round. She has competed at the national championships in both of her years at USM.

Bates senior Adedire Fakorede wrapped up his college career by placing 16th in the men’s hammer throw Saturday.

Fakorede, who placed fourth in the discus earlier in the week, threw his meet-best 177-9 on his second attempt, which was fifth-best in the first of two-round flights but not far enough to reach the finals.

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