SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- The Bates men's track and field team achieved a program first on Saturday by winning the New England Division III Men's Indoor Track & Field Championships at Springfield College.
The Bobcats, ranked 17th in the nation by the USTFCCCA, scored 103 team points to beat runner-up and 12th-ranked MIT by eight points. Tufts came in third with 89, followed by Williams (76) and Bowdoin (71.5) to round out the top five teams. Three other national Top 25 teams, Amherst, UMass-Dartmouth and Middlebury, placed sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively.
"This was an amazing performance, really by the entire team," said head coach Al Fereshetian. "We talked all week about running or competing with purpose, and then the guys just took it to MIT and everybody. We had a special opportunity and took full advantage of it."
Junior David Pless (Atlanta, Ga.) won the shot put and broke his own facility record with his penultimate effort in the finals, 56-3.75. Pless also set another personal record in the weight throw, going 62-10 to finish second to MIT senior Chinedum Umachi. Pless now ranks fifth in Division III in the weight, and third in the shot put.
Junior James LePage (Cumberland, Maine) won the New England title in the 800 meters, with his time of 1:55.77, while junior Nick Barron (Kirkwood, Mo.) took fifth place in 1:56.60.
Other point-scoring performances for the Bobcats included:
- First-year Sean Enos (Lynnfield, Mass.) posted a big personal record and finished an impressive second in the shot put, at 52-0, on his final effort in the finals.
- Junior David Hardison (South Portland, Maine) had a big second day of action in the heptathlon, surging into second place with 4,403 points, just 30 behind winner Chris Fogler of Williams. Hardison was second in the field in the pole vault (11-3.75) and second in the 60-meter hurdles (8.76). On Friday he was third in the shot put (35-7.25) and third in the 60-meter dash (7.43). First-year Eric Wainman (Glastonbury, Conn.) was first in the field in the high jump (6-2.75) on Friday, and finished fifth in the event with 4,142 points, while sophomore Chris Halsted (Lincoln, Mass.) placed seventh with 3,817.
- Junior Anthony Haeuser (South Portland, Maine) and sophomore Jarret McKallagat (Berkeley Heights, N.J.) went fifth and sixth in the preliminary heats of the 60-meter hurdles, then claimed third and fourth places, respectively, in the finals, at 8.48 and 8.58 seconds.
- First-year Isaiah Spofford (Waterville, Maine) finished an impressive third place in the finals of the 60-meter dash, at 7.12 seconds, after his prelim time of 7.10.
- Sophomore Noah Graboys (Glencoe, Ill.) was one of six runners to beat the facilty record in the mile, and finished in third place at 4:14.87.
- Sophomore Tully Hannan (West Hartford, Conn.) and junior Andrew Wortham (Newton, Mass.) similarly, were two of the nine runners who went under the facility record in the 3,000. Hannan placed third in 8:33.10, and Wortham claimed seventh place in 8:40.11.
- The Bobcats took third place in the 4x800 relay with a time of 7:56.10. Barron led off, followed by sophomore Festus Yangani (Kaptagat, Kenya), first-year John Stansel (Newburyport, Mass.) and LePage.
- Remarkably, the deep Bobcats were also able to finish second in the distance medley relay, beating the facility record in 10:20.86, with Bowdoin first in 10:18.80. Sophomore Michael Martin (Slatersville, R.I.) led off in the 1,200-meter leg of the race for Bates, followed by junior Adam Spencer (Wellesley, Mass.) in the 400, senior Peter Corcoran (Stillwater, Minn.) in the 800 and Graboys in the 1,600.
- Senior captain Sam Goldstein (Memphis, Tenn.) took fifth place in the pole vault, at 14-11.0.
Bates next competes at the all-divisions Open New Englands, Feb. 24 at Boston University.