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Murtagh takes 7th place in hammer throw at NCAA Championships

Chris Murtagh '11 finished seventh in the hammer throw to claim his second career All-America honor. (File photo by Tom Leonard '78)

DELAWARE, Ohio -- Bates College senior Chris Murtagh claimed his second career All-America award at the NCAA Division III Track and Field Championships on Thursday, finishing seventh in the hammer throw.

Murtagh (Rowley, Mass.) threw the hammer 58.23 meters, or 191 feet, on his second attempt of the day before a thunderstorm delayed the event. The competition resumed in the rain, and the performances changed dramatically thereafter. The 191-0 attempt was good enough for sixth place going into finals, and although he posted the third-best throw in the finals, the 191-0 stood up as Murtagh's best of the day, good enough for seventh.

Brett Epler (Wellesley, Mass.), Murtagh's senior teammate and fellow team captain, had a very strong first day of competition in the men's decathlon, and is currently in 16th place out of 19 competitors. Epler's results nearly mimicked those of his first day at the New England Division III Championships, when he finished with a career-best 6,162 points. The main difference between this day and that day was Epler's personal-record performance in the 400-meter dash, at 51.23 seconds.

Murtagh set the team record in the hammer earlier this season, then broke the mark again to win the ECAC Division III title at 197-2.

Murtagh took fifth place at the 2011 Division III Indoor Championships in March for his first All-America award.

The three-day NCAA Championship meet resumes Friday with Epler finishing the decathlon, while Murtagh, sophomore David Pless (Atlanta, Ga.) and senior Ethan Waldman (Playa del Rey, Calif.) compete in the shot put. The Bates women's team contingent competes Friday night, with senior Dana Lindauer (Needham, Mass.) running in the prelims of the 400-meter dash, and sophomore Bud Arens (Weymouth, Mass.) running in the prelims of the 800-meter run.