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McNeil finishes NCAA's with 16th place in discus throw

Rich McNeil finishes his career as possibly the most versatile thrower in the history of Bates men's track and field. (File photo by Tom Leonard '78)

BEREA, Ohio -- Bates College senior Rich McNeil (Lawrence, Mass.) finished 16th in the discus throw Saturday at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Baldwin-Wallace College, to finish both his collegiate career and the season for his team.

The 16th seed heading into the event, McNeil landed a top distance of 148 feet and 1 inch over three attempts in the preliminary flights, well short of his season-best throw of 166-6 from the ECAC Championships on May 14, and not far enough to make the finals.

The discus came two days after McNeil won the third All-America award of his career on Thursday, and possibly became the finest all-around thrower in team history in the process, when he finished fifth in the hammer throw.

Seeded 10th heading into the event, McNeil finished fifth overall and set a new team record in the hammer, with a top distance of 59.00 meters, or 193 feet and 7 inches. Lucas Adams '00 owned the former record of 192-5.5, set in 1999.

McNeil now ranks No. 1 on Bates' all-time performance list in the hammer and No. 2 on the team list in both the discus throw and outdoor shot put. Bates' all-time performance list in the hammer throw includes 11 other former All-Americans in the event, including four NCAA champions in Anton Kishon (1935), Wayne Pangburn (1965 and 1966), Mark Miller (1981) and Jaime Sawler (2002).

In his preliminary flight, McNeil fouled on his first two attempts, putting all the pressure on his third throw to advance to the finals. His third throw of 56.31 meters put him at eighth, moving him into the nine-man finals. McNeil launched the record-setting throw on his first attempt in the finals, followed by an almost equally impressive effort of 58.61 meters. He stood in third place overall after his final attempt before settling for fifth place in a particularly deep field in the event this year.

It was the first team outdoor record to be broken in a non-relay event since Joe Northrup '05 scored 6,721 points in the decathlon at the 2005 NCAA Championships.

All three of McNeil's All-America honors came in the hammer throw: he placed fifth at NCAA's in 2008, and eighth in 2009.

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Championship website

See the article about Rich McNeil from the Spring 2010 issue of Bates Magazine.