The 1999 season for the Bates Women's Cross Country Team was successful and made memorable by the outstanding leadership, creativity, and dedication of the team members. The three senior captains who successfully merged the thirty individuals of the largest team in Bates history into a close, cohesive team were Tracy Lyford, Kirsten Tilney, and Jess Young.
The season began with a preseason trip to BatesŐs Shortridge property on the Maine Coast. In two short days, the 12 new members where quickly adopted by the veterans of the team. Soon it was time for the first meet, the NAIA Regional Invitational. Surprising many, Bates took the first five places scoring a perfect 15 points for the first time ever. Katie Parker finished first for the team with first year runner Abby Anthony close behind. Seniors Kate Burakowski and Kate Kenoyer running on the team for the first time had an immediate impact placing third and fourth respectively. Jess Young passed an opponent in the last 100m of the race to secure the sweep. The next week Bates narrowly beat Bowdoin in a dual meet, with Parker again leading the Bates runners to the finish line. At the Codfish Bowl, first years Abby Anthony and Leah Drew were BatesŐ first two finishers.They led Bates to a 4th place finish among the 17 teams and would continued to finish first and second for Bates in every remaining meet. At the Mt. Holyoke Invitational Bates had a narrow 1 point victory over 5 teams as Drew and Burakowski each broke 20 minutes for the first time in their careers.
In the championship meets, Bates was second of eight teams at the State of Maine Championship and Anthony earned All-State Honors with her 4th place finish. At the Open New England Championship, Bates was the 6th Division III team to finish placing 21st of the 42 Division I, II and III teams. A ninth place finish at the NESCAC Championship was a step backward for the rapidly improving Bates squad. The team was moved out of their top ten New England ranking which seemed to motivate every member of the team for the next meet. With nothing to lose, the team surpassed all expectations by finishing 7th in the NCAA Regional Championship! Individually six Bates runners achieved lifetime bests. Anthony earned All Region honors with a 19th-place finish, running a career best of 18:21. Bates was represented by Anthony, Drew (18:58), Burakowski (19:10), Kenoyer (19:13), Parker (19:21), Young (19:47), and Leigh Johnson (20:29). At the NCAA Regional Qualifying Meet BatesŐ top five scorers all finished within a minute continuing a trend started early in the season.
Senior captain Kirsten Tilney was a 4 year letter award winner. Also earning varsity letters this season in addition to those mentioned above were seniors Tracy Lyford, and Jamie Homer, juniors Kate Buzzi, Meghan Hickey, Ellen Humphrey, and Carly Tarr, sophomores Gwen Hiltunen, Katherine Long, and Emily Schwartz, and first years Erin Cahill, Kelley Puglisi, Elizabeth Wallace, and Ginger Walsh.