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Men's track sends Hardison, LePage, Pless, Wortham to NCAAs

David Hardison '13 is Bates' second decathlete to qualify for NCAAs in the past two years, after Brett Epler '11 a year ago.

James LePage '13 is seeded 17th in the 800 meters at NCAAs this week.

David Pless '13 is seeded fourth in the shot put.

Pless is seeded fifth in the discus throw.

Pless is the seventh seed in the hammer throw, in his NCAA Championship debut in the event.

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Bates men's track and field team will send four athletes to compete in a total of six events the 2012 NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships, it was learned on Sunday, as the NCAA Division III Men's and Women's Track and Field Committee announced the meet's participants.

All four members of the team's contingent are juniors: David Hardison (South Portland, Maine) is in the decathlon, James LePage (Cumberland, Maine) is in the 800 meters, David Pless (Atlanta, Ga.) will compete in the shot put, discus throw and hammer throw, and Andrew Wortham (Newton, Mass.) runs in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.

The meet takes place this Thursday through Saturday, May 24-26 at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges in Claremont, Calif.

Hardison will compete at his first NCAA championship meet on the heels of his first-place performance at the ECAC Division III Championships last week, when he scored a career-high 6,235 points. That performance moved him ahead of 2011 NCAA participant Brett Epler '11 into third place on Bates' all-time decathlete performance list.

LePage is competing in his second straight NCAA Championships, having helped Bates finish third in the distance medley relay at the 2012 indoor nationals in March. He is tied for the 16th seed among 20 runners in the 800 meters, based on his season-best time of 1:51.92 at the ECAC Division III Championships on Friday.

Pless will put his undefeated record in all three of his events against Division III competition this season to the ultimate test at nationals. The team co-captain is certainly battle-tested, however, having won two straight NCAA indoor shot put titles. Pless is making his second appearance at outdoor nationals -- last year he competed in the shot put, finishing eighth, and in the discus, finishing 13th. This year he'll add the hammer to the list, where he is the seventh seed. Pless is the fourth seed in the shot put and the fifth seed in the discus.

Wortham is seeded 10th among 20 athletes in the steeplechase, and will be Bates' first steeplechaser at NCAAs since two-time national champion Justin Easter '03. His season-best time of 9:03.87 was good for third place at the New England Division III Championships at MIT on May 5. This is his second NCAA Championship appearance -- at the 2011 NCAA Cross Country Championships, he was Bates' second-fastest runner, helping the Bobcats finish seventh in the country.

Final performance list of NCAA Division III men's qualifiers