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Murtagh wins NCAA All-America honors, placing 5th in weight throw

Chris Murtagh '11 becomes Bates' 12th All-American in the men's weight throw. (File photo by Tom Leonard '78)

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Bates senior Chris Murtagh won his first All-America honors on Friday, placing fifth in the 35-pound weight throw at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field with a clutch performance at Capital University.

Murtagh (Rowley, Mass.) stood in fifth place after his fifth throw, his second of the finals round. Two competitors passed Murtagh on their penultimate throws, but on his final effort of the season Murtagh threw the weight 19.19 meters, or 62-11.50, passing both aforementioned men and moving back into fifth place. The top eight finishers are awarded NCAA All-America honors.

Murtagh's final distance would have been good enough for first place in the event last year.

Murtagh made the finals with his second throw of the preliminary round, at 18.65 meters. He moved up into fifth place, temporarily, with his first throw in the finals, at 19.00 meters even.

"Chris did a fantastic job of competing today, and now we get to put his plaque up on the wall in Merrill," said head coach Al Fereshetian, referring to the track and field teams' plaques recognizing all of Bates' All-Americans. "I think this sets him up for a great outdoor season." Murtagh is a five-time All-NESCAC performer in outdoor track and field, including two conference javelin titles.

Murtagh's two teammates at nationals, sophomore David Pless (Atlanta, Ga.) and senior Ethan Waldman (Playa del Rey, Calif.), are competing tomorrow in the shot put, starting at 3:30 p.m.

It is Bates' 17th All-America performance all-time in the weight throw, and Murtagh becomes the 12th Bates man to achieve the honor. He is Bates' first indoor All-American since Noah Gauthier '08 won the NCAA weight throw title in 2008 with a top throw of 63-01.50.

Live Men's Results at NCAAs