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Bobcats of the week of Feb. 21, 2011

David Pless '13
When a shot putter breaks his own personal record by five feet and vaults into the upper echelons of the national rankings, it tends to generate some buzz.That's what Bates sophomore David Pless(Atlanta, Ga.) made happen on Saturday at the Division III New England Men's Indoor Championships on Saturday at Springfield College, where the No. 16 nationally ranked Bobcats took fourth place, their highest finish at the meet since coming in third in 2006.

Pless won the New England title in the shot, and broke Bates' team record as well as Springfield's facility record, with a top effort of 55 feet, 2 3/4 inches, leading a 1-2 sweep in the event with senior Ethan Waldman (Playa del Rey, Calif.), who was the runner-up at 53-09.25, the second-best performance of his career. Waldman set the team's indoor shot record of 54-08.25 earlier this season.

Pless's heave automatically qualified him for the NCAA Division III Indoor Championships as well. He is currently ranked sixth in the event in Division III, with Waldman right behind him in seventh. The upstart sophomore also placed seventh in the weight throw, at 54-06.00, for two additional team points at the meet.

Pless and teammates compete this weekend at the all-divisions Open New England Indoor Championships at Boston University.

Kara Leasure '12
What a weekend it was for Kara Leasureand the Bates College women's swimming and diving team.Leasure's versatility and virtuosity stood out amidst the many outstanding, record-breaking and high-scoring performances of teammates such as seniorCharlotte Green (New Canaan, Conn.), first-year Amanda Moore(Shaker Heights, Ohio) and many others, that helped Bates finish fifth at the NESCAC Championships for the first time since 2003.

The Bobcats broke 13 team event records over the three days of the meet, some of them multiple times. Leasure, junior from Los Alamos, N.M., rewrote the program records in the 500-yard freestyle (5:09.66), the 200-yard breaststroke (2:22.25) and the 400-yard individual medley (4:33.50). Along with Green and first-years Gabrielle Sergi (Newburyport, Mass.) and Emilie Geissinger (Darien, Conn.), Leasure also swam in all three freestyle relays for Bates, all of which broke the team record times as well -- 1:37.15 in the 200, 3:32.37 in the 400 and 7:47.15 in the 800.

While Bates as a team hit the 2011 B cut, or provisional qualification for the NCAA Division III Championships, on four occasions at the meet, Leasure was responsible for two of them and helped on a third. Her 200 breast time currently ranks 18th in the country, and earned her second place at NESCACs, good for her first all-conference award (for top three finishers). Leasure also hit the B cut in the 400 IM and helped Bates hit the B cut in the 400 free relay as well.