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Pless takes eighth place in shot put at NCAA Championships

David Pless '13 launches the shot put en route to an eighth-place finish at the NCAA Division III Track and Field Championships. (Photo courtesy of John Napolitano)

DELAWARE, Ohio -- Bates College sophomore David Pless (Atlanta, Ga.) extended his fantastic year, becoming a two-time NCAA All-American by finishing in eighth place in the shot put on Friday at the Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships, held at Ohio Wesleyan University.

Pless's second attempt of the day, 16.63 meters, made him the ninth and final competitor to qualify for the finals. The NCAA indoor shot put champion then reached 16.79 meters, or 55-1, on his second attempt of the finals, vaulting into eighth place, where he remained. Pless will wrap up the meet for the Bates men tomorrow in the discus throw.

Bates seniors Ethan Waldman (Playa del Rey, Calif.) and Chris Murtagh (Rowley, Mass.) finished up their outstanding seasons, and their standout careers, by taking 16th and 19th place in the shot put in a very competitive field.

Waldman's first attempt of 50-11 stood as his best of the day, thus missing the finals along with Murtagh and accepting 16th place. Waldman had a breakout junior year, then continued his tremendous rise with an outstanding senior campaign, including sixth place in the shot at the NCAA Indoor Championships in March to join the ranks of Bates All-Americans.





Murtagh, who placed seventh in the hammer throw on Thursday, fouled on two of his three shot attempts, registering a 49-11.25 on his second try. Murtagh finishes his career at Bates with a tremendous athletic resume, including two NCAA All-America honors, seven All-NESCAC honors (including three NESCAC titles), and the 2011 Bates Male Athlete of the Year award.

Bates senior Brett Epler (Wellesley, Mass.) started the second day of the decathlon competition in 16th place out of 19 competitors, and he remained there after the second half of the event, with 6,062 points -- 100 shy of the personal-record total he scored at the New England Division III championships, which moved him into third place on Bates' all-time decathletes' list. Epler tied for the ninth-best mark in the field in the high jump (5-11.25).

Thursday Recap

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 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, Murtagh's senior teammate and fellow team captain, had a very strong first day of competition in the men's decathlon, taking 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 had 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. He sits atop an all-time performance list in the hammer that includes 12 other All-Americans, among them four NCAA champions in Anton Kishon (1935), Wayne Pangburn (1965 and 1966), Mark Miller (1981) and Jaime Sawler (2002).

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