GRINNELL, Iowa -- The Bates men's track and field team placed third in the distance medley relay on Friday night at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships, after junior David Pless placed fifth in the weight throw earlier in the evening.
The Bobcats had junior Nick Barron (Kirkwood, Mo.) running the leadoff 1,200-meter leg, followed by sophomore Ben Levy (Belmont, Mass.) in the 400, junior James LePage (Cumberland, Maine) in the 800 and sophomore Noah Graboys (Glencoe, Ill.) in the final 1,600 meters. LePage moved from sixth place in the pack up to a virtual tie for first by the end of his leg; Graboys surged past Middlebury, among other rivals, into as high as second place on the final lap before crossing the finish line third, three places better than the squad's sixth seeding.
Bates' time of 10:00.37 was only 0.70 seconds behind race winner Bowdoin, which was almost caught at the tape by runner-up Wisconsin-Stevens Point (9:59.70). The top seven teams in the race beat the former Division III championship record of 10:05.72. Bates beat out fourth-place Middlebury (10:01.38) by more than a second and fifth-place MIT by more than two seconds. It is the first All-America honor for all four Bates men, and it is Bates' first All-America performance in the DMR. Bates' one other All-America relay team to date is the indoor 4x400 squad of 2005.
Pless (Atlanta, Ga.) earned his third career All-America honors, registering another career best in the event at 19.27 meters, or 63 feet, 2.75 inches, on his second of three throws in the final round. Pless's third effort of the preliminary round, 19.16 meters, would have still earned him fifth place had he not bettered it later.
With one day remaining in the meet, Bates is currently tied with both Bowdoin and Wartburg for seventh place among 21 point-scoring teams at the meet. Pless will compete in the shot put tomorrow at 12pm Central time. He is seeded fourth in the event, which he won a year ago.
PLESS, FERESHETIAN WIN USTFCCCA REGIONAL HONORS: The Bates men’s track and field team was twice honored on Thursday, as the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced its Division III regional award winners for the indoor season. Pless received New England Men’s Field Athlete of the Year, while Fereshetian was named New England Men’s Coach of the Year.
DIII Regional Award winners announced (USTFCCCA)