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Pless finishes fourth in shot put for sixth All-America honor

CLAREMONT, Calif. -- Bates junior David Pless (Atlanta, Ga.) won his sixth career All-America honor on Saturday, and the second of the 2012 NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships, by placing fourth in the shot put.

Pless, who was third in the discus throw on Thursday, was in eighth place among 20 competitors after the two preliminary flights, but vaulted into fourth place on his penultimate effort of 17.21 meters. On his final attempt, Pless put the shot 17.74 meters, or 58-2.5, his best mark this outdoor season. Paul Davis of McMurry won at 60-10.5.

As a six-time All-American, Pless has moved out of a tie with Peter Goodrich '89 and John Fitzgerald '87, and now has the most men's indoor and outdoor track and field combined All-America awards in Bates history. (Adding in cross country, Justin Easter '03 also claimed six All-America awards, and he was also a one-time All-America in Nordic skiing.)

Pless's 11 team points scored at the meet put Bates in a four-way tie for 20th place out of 82 scoring teams, tied with St. Thomas (Minn.), Wisconsin-River Falls and Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Bates' memorable outdoor season included team championships at the State of Maine, NESCAC and ECAC Division III championships.

Earlier on Saturday, Bates junior Andrew Wortham (Newton, Mass.) finished 10th out of 14 runners in the finals of the 3,000-meter steeplechase, with a time of 9:19.40, 1.38 seconds ahead of 11th-place Brandon Abasolo of Williams. Wortham was the 10th seed at the outset of the event, before Thursday's prelims.

Friday Recap

The Bates men's track and field team competed well in three different events on Friday at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Championships on Friday, but the Bobcats didn't add to their point total.

Pless tied for 10th place in the hammer throw, in his first NCAA competition in the event. Pless tied with Tony Sigrist of Wisconsin-Eau Claire for sixth place in the second of two flights, with an impressive mark of 183-6, missing out on qualifying for the finals by an inch amidst a highly competitive field.

Junior James LePage (Cumberland, Maine), running the 800 meters in his first individual competition at an NCAA Championship, finished fourth out of seven men in the third of three heats with a time of 1:53.11, good for 16th place among 20 runners, two spots better than his seeding but not good enough to make Saturday's final.

Junior David Hardison (South Portland, Maine) finished the decathlon with the final event, the 1,500 meters, run at 9:30 Pacific time. Hardison was eighth in the event among the 20 competitors in the 1,500 at 4:42.12. Prior to that he had the sixth-best distance in the javelin throw, at 158-8. In the first event of the day, he notched a personal-record time of 15.54 seconds in the 110-meter hurdles, also good for eighth in the field. He finished with 6,213 points, only 22 shy of his big personal best recorded a week ago at ECACs, 19th best out of the 20 athletes.

Thursday Recap

Pless placed third in the discus throw on Thursday, his first of three events at NCAAs. Pless, one of this week’s “Faces in the Crowd” in Sports Illustrated, gained his fifth career All-America honor for his bronze medal performance, outperforming his No. 5 seeding in the event with a top mark of 173-11 (53.01 meters), tossed on his second effort of the day. Pless’s final throw of the finals was his second best of the day, 52.69 meters. Pless edged Tom Postema of Defiance by an inch for third place, winning his first All-America award in the discus. He is Bates’ second All-American ever in the discus — in the first instance, Peter Goodrich ’89 took eighth place in 1988.

Later on Thursday night, Wortham placed ninth, in 9:19.05, in the second preliminary heat of the 3,000-meter steeplechase. The time went for 14th place overall, qualifying Wortham with the last spot in Saturday’s 2:10pm final.

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