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November 30, 2012

From Newburyport to NCAAs

Cullen, Stansel represent Bates College at NCAA Division 3 Championships

The Bates College cross-country team’s coaching staff might not be done recruiting in Newburyport.

Two Newburyport High alumni represented Bates College at the NCAA Division 3 Cross-Country Championships Nov. 17 in Terre Haute, Ind. Senior captain Lindsay Cullen and sophomore John Stansel ran officially for Bates, marking the first time the Bobcats’ men’s and women’s program competed at NCAAs in the same season.

Cullen placed 134th overall in 22:58.3, placing third among her Bobcats teammates. She helped the squad to finish 19th in the nation. The Bates men tied their best finish as a program, placing sixth as a team. Stansel, who placed 43rd at Regionals one week earlier, placed 207th at Nationals in 26:27.7.

At NCAAs, Cullen called upon a running style that she learned as a high-schooler at Newburyport under Don Hennigar, joining a pack of Bates runners. The Bobcats’ second through fifth runners finished within 10 seconds of each other, fulfilling the goal of a top-20 finish as a team.

“It was similar to how Coach Hennigar would have us run in high school,” Cullen said. “We went out there, in such a big meet, and we knew we’d do well as long as well all stayed together.”

Stansel was the youngest of the Bates official runners at NCAAs. He believes he fell short of his performance at Regionals the previous weekend, but was content with his improvement from his freshman year.

“Unfortunately, I had my first bad race of the season at Nationals, but it was one of the deepest and most competitive fields I’ll race against at any point,” Stansel said. “I went out toward the back of the pack for the first 1,000 meters, and I still went out faster than I had all year. I had higher aspirations, but it wasn’t that bad.”

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