Bates Bobcast Episode 157: Bates football beats Bowdoin under the lights

On Senior Night, the Bates football team shined under the lights in a 30-5 win over Bowdoin at Garcelon Field. Meet the senior offensive linemen who helped lead the Bobcats to victory. Plus, the cross country teams impressed at the NESCAC Championships. All that and more, on the Bates Bobcast!

Interviews this episode:

  • 1:41 -- Malik Hall, Head Coach, Football.
  • 17:55 -- Matt Flanagan '20, Jack O'Brien '20, Phil Simplicio '20, Football offensive linemen who paved the way for Male Bobcat of the Week Tyler Bridge '23.
  • 32:08 -- Tara Ellard '22, Women's Cross Country (Female Bobcat of the Week).
  • 36:36 -- Jay Hartshorn, NESCAC Women's Cross Country Coach of the Year.
  • 47:32 -- Bobby Dall '23, Men's Soccer.

Bobcast Transcript

Aaron: This is the Bates Bobcast! Our weekly podcast where we take a look at the week that was, in Bates athletics. My name is Aaron Morse and this week we’re celebrating the Bates football team’s 30-5 win over Bowdoin under the lights at Garcelon Field. Plus, the cross country teams turned in strong performances at the NESCAC Championships and the field hockey and men’s soccer teams played in their NESCAC tournaments. That’s coming up, on the Bates Bobcast! 

Aaron: The Bates football team ended its 17-game losing streak in a big way Saturday night, trouncing rival Bowdoin 30-5 at Garcelon Field in the first nighttime home football game in team history.

Aaron: In the 122nd meeting between the old rivals, first-year Tyler Bridge rushed for 188 yards and junior Brendan Costa passed for 212 yards and three touchdowns, including two to sophomore Jackson Hayes.

Broadcaster: Brings a man in motion, and drops back throwing down the near sideline, has a man, Jackson Hayes has it! And Jackson Hayes is into the end zone for six!

Broadcaster: Second and 10, Costa, throwing down the near sideline, Hayes has it. It's a touchdown!

Aaron: Bates gained 523 yards on the night, their most in one game since 2011. And the Bobcats defeated the Polar Bears  for the eighth time in nine years, while giving second-year head coach Malik Hall his first victory.

Aaron: Fifth quarter on the Bates Bobcast with the head coach of the Bobcats Malik Hall and coach Hall under the lights against Bowdoin your first win as head coach here at Bates. How you feeling right now?

Malik: I feel good. I mean, it's hard to win but it does feel good to win and more importantly I'm excited for our Bobcat community. This was a long overdue win for every game we let go through our hands, or that we didn't get it done, this is one of those deals that it infuses confidence into the team, infuses confidence into the game planning. And with anticipation from our fan base, to try to put together another W this week versus Hamilton.

Aaron: And big plays have been a problem for the Bobcats defensively this year, but this time you flipped the script and the offense, pulled off some big time plays. How good was that to see and how about Jackson Hayes sophomore receiver, really a huge game for him?

Malik: Yeah, Jackson being 5-9, 170 pounds, with quarters in his pockets. He plays with an edge, and that edge that he plays with is what gives him the fortitude to do some things, daring to challenge corners and safeties in his route progression. And I was happy for him because he had an outbreak freshman year, and this year has been a slow start for him, but what a way to kick it off in the beginning of the game, two big touchdowns. And for him and Costa together, trying to link up in the deep ball has been a challenge this year. It's taken a while for us to find a rhythm, but it also shows that when we're clicking on every cylinder, we can be a very dangerous team. Offensively, you talk about Costa spreading the ball around, we threw the ball efficient and we only threw it what? 18 times. And in that efficient throwing, I mean, you got two big bomb touchdowns, actually three bomb touchdowns and given him the ability that when it was not there to continue to run.

Malik: So total offense I mean, I think we were in over 400 in total offense. And again those are just complements to what we should look like when we're locked in and playing with great chemistry and great confidence.

Aaron: Tyler Bridge back on the field and rushes for almost 200 yards. It's a monster game for him, some big time runs. What have you seen from him getting back out there, and having the game like he did?

Malik: I truly credit his high school coach Roche at Wells. He's grown TB to be that kind of kid. I also credit his mom and dad, because he's also humble along the way and coming off of some injury where he hasn't played in four or five weeks, you expect rust to come off but he knocked rust off by almost rushing for 200 yards. He's a physical force, I mean, at 6-3, 220 and running a ball with authority like he does, it presents a challenge for defenses. But I was extremely happy with the offensive line and getting that push, so he can add into that authoritative running style that he has. Shoulders down, forward lane. And when you add the O line firing off getting that same push. I mean, really a 200 yard day, sounds about right, the way our O line play, and the way he play.

Aaron: I was going to say offensive line a lot of seniors in that group pretty special performance it seemed like.

Malik: Yeah, we worked intentionally on getting our seniors out there for the first series, and as it should go. Phil, Flanagan, OB, and Matt Golden, holy smokes like those four guys all had good days. Matt Golden had a nice little scamper on a pull, had a few catches, and you talk about three of five offensive linemen being seniors and to close out their game against Bowdoin at a night game, out on Garcelon field, listen some scripts we can write, but that one I don't think we could have.

Aaron: Certainly, you touched on the night game, the atmosphere, what was the atmosphere like from your perspective?

Malik: I mean, listen, we had the 'Cats Carnival, the street was closed down. You had the Lewiston armory like bulletproof, bombproof truck that kids were climbing on, I think when we were warming up on the field and our guys saw all the people that came out to support them, it makes you think, what could you... Can you imagine what it looks like when we really got it rolling? I think the community wants something to do on a Saturday morning. Definitely, it's Saturday night and what better place to be than on a football field for a night game at Garcelon, so the atmosphere was amazing. I think our guys looking at it, we went with white under the lights, which was again just trying to match that atmosphere. We don't have all white alternative uniforms yet, but that does not mean that we still can't present the white under the lights with our top and I thought it was well received from our guys, from our fanbase. And whenever you can get a W, and the fans want to rush a field like that, I think that's just a win for the B.

Aaron: And we touched on one Mainer who had a big day Tyler Bridge, another Mainer who had a big day is a senior Zach Doyon with the interception. I mean, that must be nice to see from him, once in your day, a leaping catch like that?

Malik: Yeah, my man Zoyon, how about that? Every Maine kid had a good performance Saturday, but Doyon listen, he's a pre-med guy, and so some nights he might only get three hours of sleep due to studying. And so this was one of those weeks for him, and to see him recover like he did and have the performance that he did, I was excited for him, I was excited for his family to see him perform that way in his last game. And not to mention when you talk about doing something for the B, he came in here and when we got here he was a tailback. And when you talk about doing it for the B, he changed positions late last year mid-season versus Middlebury and came on to be a starter at middle linebacker, and to close out his game with a pick, a few TFLs and a ton of tackles, I'm happy for him. More importantly, I'm happy for all of our seniors because seeing him go out like that encourages our juniors to rise to the occasion for the seniors.

Malik: And I think everyone did, everyone rose up for our senior class to play well, and our seniors played extremely well. Suraci, Sauce, like Sauce had a great game, had about seven tackles. He's been hurt about all season just about, and so that senior package that we've put together, it means something to him. And I think they reciprocated that with their effort.

Aaron: Certainly one of the underclassmen a big play, we talked last week how Sean Bryant should be ready for the next opportunity, and boy, was he ever.

Malik: Hello, hot coffee. He comes onto the scene again, after being beat up all season and had a breakout game last week and how about following it up with another deep ball catch, going up catching it for a touchdown. Again, I'm proud of Sean even more to that I point Sean's brother has been out for a while, so when you think about, caring for his sibling or having a sibling on the team and he's not there, that plays a part in the athletic psyche. And he's done a great job in absorbing it, the Bobcat posse has done a great job and given him a shoulder to lean on as a support system. And it shows up on Saturday for him and I'm happy for him.

Aaron: And then the game, I mean, you guys won pretty handedly. We're talking about these close games the Bobcats have had their fourth quarter, this time the fourth quarter, it wasn't really that close. What was that feeling like?

Malik: Wow, again, man. It's so hard to win you forget, you don't really... you know the score, you know what the score is, you know what's going on but as a coach, you always know something's waiting for you around a corner. And so, even at the end, where we probably could have punched in and get another touchdown, I believe that a lot of head coaches and a lot of teams in our league have shown us some grace in those scenarios. And though we got our first win, it was important to show our guys like, guys, it's okay to get a win, but not to just show people up. And to some degree, our guys wanted to get another touchdown, and I get that, I do, and I think those are learning moments for our team to understand what respecting your opponent looks like. That I'm going to compete hard to win and to beat my opponent, but the respect value on your opponent is when you're on the three yard line, yeah, you can go in and score. But you can also show respect and take a knee.

Malik: And that was the thought process, so being that we were up so much it was just let's keep playing good football. Let's not do anything that could really change the energy and the momentum of the game, and when you got Bridge running like he was running, and the O line blocking like they were blocking, there's not a lot really to do other than just let you guys finish the game. And I was proud that they finished the game with no turnovers, I was proud that they finished it relatively speaking with no penalties, and you saw a mature ball club this weekend. And it's my hopes that we double down on that maturity, double down on our ability to compete for four quarters, and see if we can bring home another W for the Bobcat family.

Aaron: I was going to say that I mean, coming off an emotional win like this, what's your approach this week in practice preparing this team for Hamilton in the final regular season game here?

Malik: Yeah, I think we're going to change some things up in the practice schedule, just to kind of keep them on their toes. Also, I think once you get that taste, you just want to taste it like, oh, I need it again. And so relying on the human disposition to want more success, and rely on our coaching organization to kind of switch some things up, to make them have to focus a little harder, because I think you can get in a situation where you just want to ride that wave. But the deal with that is you have to still work at the wave, right? It's just not go, oh, we won and now we're going to win the next one. If we rely on our accolades from the Bowdoin game to show up the Hamilton game, that means we thinking we're playing Bowdoin twice. And we have to switch gears and switch the face of our opponent, if not the face certainly the color, because we're not playing Bowdoin this week.

Malik: We're traveling for eight hours to get to Hamilton, and so when you think of away games, away games present more challenges than just the opposing team. Travel plays a part in it, routine plays a part in it, and so we want to be able to keep our routine as best we can. But also change it up so they have to catch the thread and focus and respond because this is the one that's easy to kind of say, okay, we finally won, now we're on track, Hamilton is going to lay down, because we're coming into town. That's not going to happen, and so as a coaching staff, we're working diligently to do some things to spark change, but also be consistent in some of the things that we do schematically, so we're not really teaching. And so we're excited, Hamilton, they are a physical ball club, they're fighting to win five games right now. That's the position we wanted to be in.

Malik: They have a great tail... they have a really good two tandem tailback, they have a scatback number seven, who's pretty dynamic in space, runs hard. And then they have bowling ball number 30, who's short round and loves the ground. And so that combination with the quarterback being able to flick it down field, they're a 50/50 team. And so we want to make them one dimensional, and force them into just passing the ball and if we get that done, I think we'll be okay. Offensively, their defense is a stout defense, they're not going to give you a bunch of looks, they're going to line up, they're going to know where you're going, and they're going to beat you to the spot. They rely on their effort, their discipline, not the configuration or the scheme. And that in itself, and then it's own right is dangerous, because they're clear on who they are.

Malik: And formations don't get them to sway their style, and so this is one of those deals where you know where you're getting, can you out execute them because their game plan is to out execute you defensively, be where they know you're going to be and break the play up. And so our challenge is, can we out execute them because they're not easily fooled, and they don't change much, and so even though you know where they're going to be, now out executing him because he knows you're coming to get him. You know you're going to get him, so this is one of those deals where, hey, you know where I am, I'll be here at one o'clock, two o'clock, three o'clock. And can you get four quarters of high execution and high energy. And then the special teams is part of it, they have a really good kick return team, 25 I think or 26 is very dynamic. I think they even lead the NESCAC in return yards for KOR, and so our kickoff team might have a challenge there.

Malik: Every week it's hard to win, we have to build it to win all through the week, and hope is that we can compete for four quarters and like where we stand at the end.

Aaron: All right, well, you got the win this past Saturday. Hopefully another one this upcoming Saturday. Malik Hall, thanks so much.

Malik: And wins make it a great day to be a Bobcat.

Aaron: Bridge returned from injury and shined. His 188 rushing yards are the most in a game for a Bobcat since Sean Atkins ran for 302 against Bowdoin in 2002.

Aaron: Bridge is our Male Bobcat of the Week but his performance would not have been possible without strong play up front. They don’t record any statistics you see in the box score but the Bates offensive line was a key component in Saturday’s Senior Day victory. Senior linemen Matt Flanagan, Jack O’Brien and Phil Simplicio joined the Bobcast to talk about their careers and what sticking with the program means to them. 

Aaron: We got trio of Bates senior offensive lineman with us here on the Bobcast, Matt Flanagan, Jack O'Brien, Phil Simplicio. Matt, Senior Day, under the lights against Bowdoin, got the victory. What was it like there at the end when everyone got to charge the field and celebrate that victory?

Matt: Honestly, at the very beginning I was kind of speechless. We, actually all three of us, we gave each other a huge hug, and we were like we got to find a picture for it, but we didn't get the picture off. But it was a good experience because also three of us, three massive boys just giving each other some love at the end of the game, and then once a few of our friends, we looked over and they stormed the field. So we just ran out to the B, and it was a great experience. I had to soak it in.

Aaron: How was it for you, Jack?

Jack: It was awesome. My brother actually came up from Washington DC and my dad was there and it was awesome. It was really cool. Just like my whole family came on the field too after and it was a really special moment. It was long waiting and long overdue, but it was awesome.

Aaron: Jack touched on family and Phil you've got family connections with Bates to say the least, your younger brother is on the team. I believe both your parents went to Bates.

Phil: Both my parents went to Bates.

Aaron: It was extra special, I'm sure the connection, you've been a Bobcat your whole life, right?

Phil: Yeah, I got baby pictures of me in Bates gear with Coach Harriman our former coach when we were freshmen and sophomores stayed at my house when I was one year old and there's a picture with him, and me as a little baby. But yeah, like Senior Day was surreal, like we're walking on Garcelon, like we've had so many memories and practices and stuff on Garcelon. I've been going there since I was like four, so kind of weird to have that final game, but to get that win, that's fun like he said, we took the knee and we all kind of looked at each other like, holy crap, we did it. Kinda gave a big hug, and then my high school captain is number six, on Bowdoin Nate Richam, he's one of the better players in the league. So I ran over gave him a hug just because he did the same thing for me last year when Bowdoin beat us and stormed the field, so I wanted to return the favor.

Phil: And I turn and there's just a massive group of kids on the B, and I'm running around like I'm a six year old again, just like... just finding kids giving hugs. And I can't thank the students enough, they were routing the entire game and before the game, they were all giving us pats on the back like, come on, you guys got to get them. And then after the game they're giving us big hugs like they just played in there with us, and it was just a great experience, it was fun.

Aaron: Yeah, excellent and then Matt, the offensive line you paved the way for 188 rushing yards for Tyler Bridge. What really came together for the line there on Saturday?

Matt: Really, all I could say is all throughout the week, we kind of just realized, we got to do this, we got to pull it off. It's at home, under the lights, first night game ever in Bates history, I believe. And it's something that... it's unbelievable. So we are like we have to make this the best start to a new tradition, so our offensive line was kind of just locked in all week. And obviously, we had a few battles on the D line too, so it was a good time and that's really what forces us to be just having a huge push. Pave the way for Bridge which is great for him. I'm super proud of him, and yeah, we were strong up front and we just kept on rolling.

Aaron: And Jack as the center that's a challenging position on the line, you've worked to grow your game this past few years kind of being the guy that's to point out different protections and whatnot.

Jack: I've had good guys in front of me, so in freshman year backed up Jimmy Fagan, and Martin Guinee was really helpful with learning the protections and stuff like that. So just kind of learned from experience, learning from the older guys and then eventually, this week too against Bowdoin like we were prepped really well for that. So we knew they were going to blitz a lot, knew they were going to stunt, so coach Lopes did a really good job just making us watch film, and being prepared for all the blitzes and stunts.

Aaron: And then Phil, getting the start on senior day what was that like for you?

Phil: It was surreal, coming back from an injury junior year, and just not kind of feeling the same way that I felt the entire way up until that injury just to kind of have one final day where I'm with the guys that I love to play with and just fly around on the field, have a smile on my face. And kind of just beat the crap out of the other team. It was fun.

Aaron: Certainly, Matt, your sophomore year, I believe you were away from the team and you came back last season and now wrapping things up as a senior. What was it like returning to the team last year for Coach Hall's first season?

Matt: So I really wasn't planning on playing football, I kind of just decided to move on and I was playing hockey and rugby here at Bates. But literally over the summer I was working and coach Hall gave me a call, and he said, listen, you really don't have to play right now, you don't have to say yes right now. But I just want you to think about it, and two days later, I gave him another call and said absolutely, I'm on your side, 100% and it's good to come back and play with these guys because from the start, we had a strong offensive line core as freshmen and so I wanted to continue that. And honestly, it's been a tough... first year was tough, the junior year, last year. But it's all coming together at this point and I think in the next near future the team is going to be great.

Aaron: What does it say about the eight seniors who stuck with it, Jack?

Jack: It's definitely gritty. I definitely say like, there's originally 21 of us, I'm not going to lie, so just the fact that we're all still here is pretty cool and pretty special. And there's definitely a tight bond between all eight of us. I definitely think that.

Aaron: What's your perspective on that Phil?

Phil: Yeah, as Jack said, it's gritty, kind of speaks to the group of the eight kids that stuck around and Flany, I roomed with him for three years, so I got the text, I think it was over the summer, junior year and he was like, I'm coming back and I remember just telling my mom and dad immediately. We're all like, oh, yeah, let's go. Yeah, just the eight of us. I mean, we had practice today at 6:15 in the morning, which is a new one for us. We've had four years of just Bates football and really shows that like we've stuck together, we've stuck it out, and it shows that we all love this school and like love this program, and we expect big things from here in the near future.

Aaron: Certainly, something about your background, when did you start playing football? When did you decide you wanted to continue playing and come to Bates basically?

Matt: So growing up I was too big to play football.

Aaron: You were too big to play football?

Matt: Too big to play football, believe it or not, if that's even possible in Pop Warner, but I went to Fay school and they had a youth football team there. So I started playing seventh grade, and then decided to go to my public high school Lincoln Sudbury, and I have played for Tom Lopez who actually played football here back in the day. So he kind of got me into it and believed in me and I was a four year starter, and I kind of just loved it so much, and Tom Lopez was a big factor in me coming here as well. My mom and my grandparents also went here, so I have good history of Bates in the background. So that was another huge pull for me. But I started out Lincoln Sudbury High School, Massachusetts, small DCO League school. We were always pretty good, won the dual county league a bunch I think, all four years.

Matt: Yeah, and I planned on coming to Bates. I mean, that was my main goal.

Aaron: How about you, Jack?

Jack: So growing up, I was pretty much a hockey player like hockey pretty much dictated my whole town. But my dad, he's a Division I FCS ref. And so I always wanted to get into football and then seventh grade at Catholic Memorial in West Roxbury, Mass. I joined the football team and just fell in love with it and then I started having a good high school career and just kind of wanted to go to the best school with academics, possible. And as soon as I talked to coach Harriman and visited here I fell in love with the place. I love the campus, love the atmosphere, and I knew Bates was the school for me and I really don't regret any of it. I love it here, it's awesome.

Aaron: So with your dad being a referee, and does that make you a little bit harder on the refs or a little more understanding?

Jack: A little bit of both. There's a few umpires who know my dad and so they always come up to me being the center to the umpire always has to come up to me because the substitutions and snapping the ball, but definitely, I think I do have a little bit of knowledge and kind of a little critical of the referees, so it's a blessing and a curse at the same time.

Aaron: Makes sense. How about you Phil? I mean, obviously a lot of Bates family connections here, especially for you as I mentioned before, but how did you decide on your own you wanted to come here?

Phil: My friends have made a joke all, my high school friends, I have been committed to Bates since '98, which is when I was born. But I didn't start playing football kind of like Flany until high school for me, so it was freshman year, that was my Dad and Mom's decision, maybe have a few less hits on me in the head, but yeah, so I didn't start playing until then I was more of a basketball and lacrosse kid. And then junior year comes around and these guys can attest to it, that's when all the camps start happening in the summer and I went to a bunch of camps coach Harriman and coach Avril were the two guys that were my head recruiters. And yeah, they talked to me on the phone I came up again even though I probably could have given the tour myself, I knew where everything was when they were giving me the tour.

Phil: And just I've loved this place since I was little and it was one of those special moments when I got to tell my parents like hey, they're offering me a chip for admissions to help me get in. And so it was kind of one of those special moments I always remember seeing both my parents like get all emotional and it just felt good to come here.

Aaron: Excellent. We'll wrap things up, is there any other thoughts you want to share about your time at Bates and about wanting to finish strong, you still have one more game, we're talking about Bowdoin, still one more game at Hamilton!

Matt: Yeah, I mean, it's crazy because it's coming to an end, end of a chapter that... believe it or not, we were just talking about you saying like in your questionnaire on the pamphlet for the Bowdoin game, he was saying like, it feels like yesterday when we were moving in as freshmen so it's honestly very surreal, and it's coming to an end, but the bonds that this team has created especially our senior group the eight guys, like honestly, it's crazy how tight of a bond we are, and how gritty we are, and we get after it and so hopefully we are in touch and have a good life together.

Aaron: Certainly, and Jack how are you?

Jack: I completely agree with Matt on that one. It is surreal that it's wrapping up. I mean, there's a lot of memories good and bad, but it was definitely a hell of a ride and no regrets about it, and just got to get the win against Hamilton next week... I mean, this week, sorry.

Aaron: No bye week right.

Phil: Actually, next week we're retired!

Phil: Yeah, as these guys said like, the time at Bates has been great. We've had... What two time CBB champs, which is not many people at Bates can say that in Bates football history. And I think in the future, I think a lot of classes will be saying they're three-time, four-time CBB champs. Yeah, I love these guys. I don't think there's a maybe and if I'll see post college, I think we're all going to know each other's kids. Though our wives might hate us when we go to visit each other, but it's going to be fun. Yeah, the retired life is going to be weird. Hopefully we don't get into much trouble around campus and... Yeah!

Aaron: Sounds good. Phil Simplicio, Jack O'Brien, Matt Flanagan, thanks so much for joining us on the Bobcast. Appreciate it.

Aaron: The nationally ranked Bates cross country teams competed at the NESCAC Championships on Saturday and the men placed fifth out of 11 schools. First-year Eli Boesch-Dining was the third-fastest first-year in the field, taking 22nd out of 145 runners. On the women’s side, the Bobcats finished third out of 11 schools, led by All-NESCAC performances from first-year Jill Richardson and senior captain Olivia LaMarche. But it’s the depth of the women’s team that was the key to matching the Bobcats’ best performance at NESCACs since 1987. Sophomore Tara Ellard continued her strong season by placing 21st and she is our Female Bobcat of the Week! 

Aaron: Female Bobcat of the Week, Tara Ellard with us here on the Bobcast talking women's cross country. Third place for the Bobcats at the NESCAC championships Tara, you personally got third on the team 21st overall, big step up for you from last year at NESCAC's. What was the difference you felt kind of this time around?

Tara: Yeah, definitely. Last year, it was my first time as a freshman running at the NESCAC meet, so that was definitely a little bit intimidating. But I really felt like this year my training, I was more confident with that, and just going into the race, I knew what I had to do. So I was definitely a bit more confident going into this race.

Aaron: And this course you've never run the course before, so how do you approach that?

Tara: Yeah, I'd never run the race, but the day before, we always do a run through of the course so I knew what to expect. It was a little bit flatter than what we've been running here in Maine, so it was easy to go out. But then there's some hard hills in the last half.

Aaron: I know the previous race you participated at Oberlin, that was a kind of flat course too, right, or very flat?

Tara: That was a very flat course, pretty much as flat as you can get, so it was a little bit of a change in the sense that there were some hills, but it was definitely a harder race to kind of map out.

Aaron: And then the team obviously pretty happy with a third place finish. I mean, NESCAC obviously has some really talented teams.

Tara: Yeah, we were very happy the with third place finish. We had set some goals ahead of time, we beat some teams that we wanted to beat, so we were very happy with that.

Aaron: And then who do you typically run with and how do you approach things?

Tara: Yeah, so we as Bobcats, we like to run together, so my pairing is usually Abby Hamilton, we like to run our races together, in this race we really stayed together for the first half so it was nice.

Aaron: And then I'm curious, during the race are you talking to Abby or are you just kind of running together in silence, or how does that work?

Tara: Yeah, no, definitely. Some races are harder than others, so you have a little bit more energy to talk than others, but going uphill, sometimes we tell each other to push it or keep together, stay together, let's get this next girl. We do definitely talk throughout the race, kind of encourage each other and help us get through it.

Aaron: Is it always race focused conversation though probably?

Tara: Yeah, definitely, some races if they're going a little bit south, you have to definitely encourage each other more in the races. But yeah, it's definitely race focused just like keeping each other in the zone and keeping us focused.

Aaron: I was talking with Olivia about this a couple weeks ago, but obviously for the women's team, you start off with 5Ks in the beginning, you then transition into 6Ks. Do you like that transition kind of or how does that work for you?

Tara: Yeah, I definitely do like it we start off the season with even a little bit less than a 5K, and then we go to the 6Ks at the end of the season. So it's nice to kind of go from summer training to building up until you get to the 6K because it is a long race, so it's nice to kind of ease into it.

Aaron: Certainly. And then how about some of your teammates and Jillian Richardson coming in as a first-year, you were a first-year last year, what was it like seeing a first-year coming in having the impact she's had?

Tara: Yeah, I'm very proud. I mean, Jill is amazing and what she's doing is great, so it's not only she's doing a lot for the team, but she's really showing how awesome our team can be in the next four years. It's always exciting to get freshmen and see what we can do. We have a lot of great freshman this year.

Aaron: Excellent. And then New Englands is coming up at Bowdoin, right? And obviously, you're pretty familiar with that course.

Tara: Yes, we've actually run at the Bowdoin course a few times now, so we know what to expect. And our team is pretty young, we have a few freshmen running at it, so it'll be nice to kind of encourage them and let them know what to expect and what it's going to be like. But for us, it's a nice, easy course that we know.

Aaron: Yeah. So last year as a first-year obviously you had a very solid season, raced at Nationals with the team and everything. What was your approach over the summer to get ready for another cross country season?

Tara: Yeah, it was definitely... I knew more about my training and what I needed to do, and I think I went into freshman year just kind of like seeing what I could do and not really having many expectations, but this summer, I knew what I wanted, and it was definitely a more focused summer for training.

Aaron: And what was the experience at NCAAs like last year?

Tara: It was intimidating, there was a lot of great teams there. Especially as a freshman, I'm not really running that many 6Ks or running meets that large before but was exciting for sure.

Aaron: Excellent. Any other thoughts on NESCACs this past weekend, what are you most looking forward to at regionals and hopefully nationals after that?

Tara: Yeah, I mean NESCACs was great we placed way higher than we were expecting, so it was really incredible to see what we could do and it's even more exciting to see what we can do at regionals, now that we have that wind behind us and have the confidence moving forward.

Aaron: Excellent, Tara Ellard, Female Bobcat of the Week. Thanks so much.

Tara: Thank you. 

Aaron: Bates’ impressive performances across the board earned head coach Jay Hartshorn her second NESCAC Cross Country Coach of the Year award. With the all-important NCAA Regionals a week from Saturday at Bowdoin, the Bobcats are hoping to qualify for NCAAs for a second straight year.

Aaron: NESCAC Coach of the Year Jay Hartshorn with us here on the Bobcast, and coach what does that honor mean to you? It's the second one of your career in cross country here at Bates.

Jay: I'm just really happy for the team. I think it just sort of represents what this team has done this year, and I think people didn't, probably like our peers or within New England, I think it was easy to look at our last year's team and say we graduated our top two runners, we graduated five out of eight. Like it's supposed to be a rebuilding year for us, and I always just felt like we had the students who were A, already here or coming in that if things went right, that we could be really competitive again, and make a run of it, and have a really good year.

Aaron: And obviously, third in NESCACs going in I mean, that seemed like a really good outcome. And that's what it ended up being.

Jay: Yeah, that would have been... the students set that as their goal or something that they wanted to do, and we certainly would have had to been happy with fourth, maybe feeling a little more disappointed with fifth because that would have probably represented that things didn't go as well as it can. And it's cross country, you can't really control the other teams. There's nothing you can do about that, so you just have to really like execute your race and hope that you get the outcome that you want.

Aaron: Let's talk about this kind of new look top runners for the Bobcats you have Jill Richardson All-NESCAC as a first-year, you do have a senior captain Olivia LaMarche also getting All-NESCAC, and then you have a sophomore Tara Ellard who really had a strong meet. She's our Female Bobcat of the Week, we've talked to her already. But what about Tara's meet impressed you the most?

Jay: It was funny right after she finished I was like, oh, I hope she's Bobcat of the Week. Like it just sort of went into my head of like, she'd be really good choice. So she had, without going into too many details, winter spring, she just wasn't the runner I thought she was going to be after having some success last year in cross country and nothing was bad, but nothing was good. And then we figured out some stuff. So she actually came into the year feeling like, all right, I'm just going to have to see what happens. We have so many freshmen, I have to just sort of like take it week by week, which is interestingly the same thing that Ayden Eickhoff did last year when she had a really great cross country season.

Jay: And then things just sort of immediately started clicking, so it clicked a little quicker than we thought with Tara, and then right before Ohio, she was like, yeah, week by week and just see what happens. And I was kind of like, yeah, here's the thing, you're one of our best runners. So we have to change that narrative and we're counting on you. And so it wasn't that she didn't want to be counted on but it was sort of like, okay, yeah, this is here, and I need to take the role that I'm ready to have right now.

Aaron: Well I know the race in Ohio was her best ever 6K time, although it was extremely flat coursea. So that can't necessarily be the measuring stick, but still really strong.

Jay: Yeah, I mean, that was like, by far a big breakthrough in that way in terms of like... even though it couldn't have been a faster course, they still come back and say, well, I ran that, and we know going into NESCACs if you ran a minute slower, then that was totally fine too. But it is sometimes nice to actually get on that flat course, and that's exactly what regionals is going to be like, so it was very much like a tune up like practice, like I can go out harder than I think and be okay. So it definitely, will help us in two weeks having gone to Oberlin.

Aaron: Yeah. So what's the process like training for the regionals here because you don't have a meet this weekend it's the week after, so it's the same process, it's normal What is that like for the women's cross country though?

Jay: It's sort of nice because you kind of like can regroup and have a little extra time to like if you have a big week in school to have your weekend time and you've got three good workouts in, so it's like our normal schedule, what we're used to and then if you're lucky enough to make it to nationals you just kind of go like regionals to nationals. Maybe you do something in the middle just to make you feel like you're doing something, but all the training is really been done. But it's a little different this year because daylight savings felt like it fell earlier. Where our meet is a little later, so it's a little bit harder because we're now getting dark early. So on Friday, I was like you guys don't have class, so we can go early on Friday. We might get a touch of snow on Friday, so you start really getting into it could be really cold at regionals. You have to be prepared for all the elements that start hitting you in November.

Aaron: And then how about first-year Jill Richardson, I have a hard time remembering the last time a first-year came in, and immediately was leading the team in almost every race throughout the season?

Jay: Yeah, that's certainly not our norm. We have like sort of pride ourselves and like you work hard, and your seniors are your best runners, you kind of get better and that's how it was certainly with Jess Wilson, with Katherine Cook, with Katie Barker, we've just always had these seniors, and a lot of people before that. It's sort of been our thing, so we're used to graduating a lot of people in our top seven and this year we'll only graduate one in our top seven, so that will feel really different. But Jill, the one thing I just love about her is that she's local, so that was something that we really tried to have local kids on our team. So just like seeing her around and being like, oh man that this could work out, so that was like really great. And a lot of people know her, a lot of people know her family. She's just like, she's so great. The summer I saw her running through my neighborhood a couple times, I feel like there she goes, that was kind of like affirming, and exciting.

Jay: But she's never been on a team that's been like close to this competitive, ran with the boys in high school. It was just a really different thing. But she's really taking it in stride, and she'll look to me... I think state meet, she felt like, oh, maybe I want her to do better. And I was like, hey, don't worry about it. Those are individual qualifiers for nationals last year, and she was like, oh, okay. So in some ways you can really do a lot when you just go out in a race and don't worry about oh, this is this person and that's that person. So we're just trying with all of our freshmen to not be like oh, this person was All-American last year, this person was like second in indoor nationals or something like that. When they're naive to like the bigger picture sometimes you just like roll with it because it makes it less pressure to just go out and race and execute.

Aaron: And she's probably going to have big impact come track season too, right?

Jay: Yeah, I would bet, we haven't really talked about it. But my guess is like cross country is her favorite because a lot of these women cross country is their favorite. I mean, just a sort of like a natural thing, but then we do have some that I know also really love track. In Maine, lots of times if you're a good runner, you'll run the mile and the four by eight and the two mile so you'll be at meets and just run event after event. And that's really different than what we do, so I don't really have a sense of when we actually just like try to run a 5K or try to run a fast 3K, how quickly all that will come together because she's had some really good track times. But they're all in meets where she's run a lot of races, which is just typical high school in Maine.

Aaron: Certainly, and then Olivia La Marche we talked about how seniors typical progress is by the time they're a senior they're leaders and she has again this year an All-NESCAC performance for her, What have you seeing from her development?

Jay: Well, she's actually a really interesting case because she came out her freshman year after maybe the first week and said I would like to run, I've run in the past. And so we were like, okay, fine, and then all of a sudden, she's like at nationals, one of our top runners and then sophomore year she was actually eighth at NESCAC when we were home. So that was a really, really good performance for her and then she had sort of some bumps and bruises along the way, which is totally typical of our sport. So we really did... and she was abroad last spring, so we changed some of her training this year just to try to like tweak things to make it that she just like felt longer, stronger later in the season. And so we really have given a lot of thought of how to keep her going a little bit better, and I think most of it has really worked.

Jay: So even from the get go, she's been really consistent this year, and I'm just so happy for her because I feel like this is the runner she really is and as long as we keep her healthy and keep her going, then that's what we're going to see from her. But typically, come November and hit some bumps and bruises, which I don't think we're going to this year because we've I think figured out some stuff about her and that's what's exciting about coaching is you can't do it the same way all the time. You have to be willing to like make changes and that was my biggest goal coming in this year, is what can I do to really target this kids training, to make her have the season I think that she can have.

Aaron: Great. Well any other thoughts on NESCAC's and what you're most looking forward to with regionals coming up here in a couple weeks?

Jay: I'm just looking forward to regionals getting here. It feels like oh my gosh, we have like 10 more days or 11 more days, but think we'll be ready. It's exciting, we'll train like 10 people, only seven can run, but we train 10 people and five of those are freshmen. So it's really good for them to... even if some of them aren't running at regionals to like go through the whole training cycle and realize like, okay, next year, this is how long the season is, this is what the collegiate season looks like, and they're so... we run in groups, Olivia and Jill run most races together and then Abby and Tara run races together. And Vanessa likes to work her way up a little bit, so she runs a little bit with everybody. She kind of says hi to everybody during the race, like I'm running with you, I'm running with you. But all those students in training, they're all together all the time. They're like the same.

Jay: Some just race faster and we just have to pick a couple, so they're really, really key for just the training of what's happening right now. And then hopefully that will stay healthy and we'll be ready to go in 11 to 12 days.

Aaron: All right Jay Hartshorn NESCAC Coach of the Year. Thanks so much.

Jay: Thank you, Aaron.

Aaron: The men’s soccer team defeated Colby 2-1 in overtime on Tuesday, thanks to a game-winning goal from first-year Bobby Dall. Dall joined the Bobcast immediately after the win.

Aaron: Bobby, overtime match against Colby, take me through the game-winning goal.

Bobby: So I think it was a pass from the left side and it came over to me, and I tried to flick it over one of the defender's heads and it got around him, then I took a touch around their centerback and just hit a near post shot, and then it just went in and I was so psyched. I ran over to the fans, the few that were here. My grandpa was here, so I looked at him. Yeah, it just felt great.

Aaron: And your grandfather has seen you play before?

Bobby: Yeah, so he's from Maine too, so he comes to all the games, so I'm playing for him out here.

Aaron: Nice, and obviously Colby, a rival what does it mean to get a rivalry win like this right before NESCAC tournament?

Bobby: Yeah, I mean, we were on a little losing streak coming into the game, so I think this win provides us a big bump of energy going into playoffs that we really needed.

Aaron: Sure. Well, I mean, in general, guys like Beaufils, seniors like that, what do they mean in terms of leadership?

Bobby: Oh, it's everything like this is the best group of seniors we could get and we have two of our caps, senior captains. Tony, he didn't even get to play a minute this season and Peder who's out with a concussion almost all season. So there are two huge leaders that we just didn't get on the field, then a lot of the other guys like Beaufils, Reeber, players like that just like super mature guys that just provide us with unrivaled leadership.

Aaron: Bates fell at Williams in the NESCAC quarterfinals on Saturday but the Bobcats can be very proud of the season they put together. Their overall record of 9-6-1 was the team’s most wins since 2008 and their conference record of 5-4-1 was their best since 2004. 

Aaron: Speaking of being proud of their season, the field hockey program entered the national rankings this year...and stayed, finishing with an overall record of 10-6 after a NESCAC quarterfinal loss to No. 7 nationally ranked Williams on Saturday. The 10 wins are the most for the field hockey team in one season since 1999, and the Bobcats’ six conference wins mark their most in NESCAC play….ever. 

Aaron: The Bates women’s soccer team battled Colby to a 0-0 draw on Tuesday to finish its season And the Bates volleyball team’s campaign rolls on Friday at the NESCAC Championships when the seventh-seeded Bobcats takes on two-seed Wesleyan.

Aaron: We’ll be recapping fall sports and getting winter sports started with season previews on the next few episodes of the Bobcast. Check out for your favorite team’s schedule. For now, that’ll do it for this week’s episode of the Bates Bobcast!