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Epler, Murtagh, Pless and Waldman to compete at NCAAs





INDIANAPOLIS -- The Bates men's track and field team will have four men competing in six events at this week's NCAA Division III Track and Field Championships, including three in the shot put. The meet takes place Thursday through Saturday, May 26-28 at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio.

The first two All-American shot putters in the team's history, sophomore NCAA indoor champion David Pless (Atlanta, Ga.) and senior indoor All-American Ethan Waldman (Playa del Rey, Calif.), will both compete in the shot put and will be joined by senior Chris Murtagh (Rowley, Mass.). Senior Brett Epler (Wellesley, Mass.) will compete in the decathlon, while Pless made the field in the discus throw and Murtagh will compete in the hammer.

Pless is the top seed in the shot put, based on his latest team record and automatic qualifying mark of 58-10.25 set last week at Open New Englands in New Haven, Conn. In his first appearance at outdoor nationals, Pless will also compete in the discus throw, where he is the 18th seed based on his season-best effort of 164-11 set April 16th at the Colby Invitational.

Murtagh is the eighth seed in the shot put, based on his personal-record effort of 55-5 registered last week at Open New Englands. He is also seeded seventh in the hammer throw, in which he set the team record for the second time this season on Friday, throwing 197-2 to win the ECAC Division III title. Murtagh sits atop an all-time performance list in the hammer that includes 12 former All-Americans, among them four NCAA champions in Anton Kishon (1935), Wayne Pangburn (1965 and 1966), Mark Miller (1981) and Jaime Sawler (2002).

Waldman, who placed sixth in the shot at indoor nationals in March, will be the 12th seed at outdoor nationals, based on his top mark of the season, 54-4.75, from the Colby Invitational on April 16. At the time, Waldman's shot put was the best in team history, but that has since been surpassed by both Pless and Murtagh in this remarkable year for the Bobcats.

Epler will compete in his first NCAA Championship as the 16th seed in the decathlon, after qualifying provisionally but not being selected for the men's pentathlon at indoor nationals this year. Epler won the New England Division III title two weeks ago with a career-high 6,162 points, moving up to third place on Bates' all-time performance list in the event. Epler outscored the eight-man field in the 400-meter run, finishing in 51.50 seconds for 747 points, and in the 110-meter hurdles, at 15.84 seconds. Epler was also second or third best among his competition in six other events: the shot put (10.53 meters), the high jump (1.83 meters), the discus throw (33.34 meters), the pole vault (3.45 meters), the javelin throw (47.55 meters) and the 1,500-meter run (4:39.39).

View the event-by-event selections for the NCAA Division III Men's Outdoor Championships.