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Pless sets meet record at Maine state championships

LEWISTON, Maine -- Bates junior David Pless broke the 27-year-old meet record and his own school record in the shot put, highlighting some outstanding performances by the Bates men's track and field team as the Bobcats finished a close second to Bowdoin at the 44th Maine State Men's Indoor Track & Field Championships on Saturday night.

Bowdoin scored 201 points, six points ahead of runner-up and defending meet champion Bates (195). Colby finished third with 85 points, followed by Southern Maine with 71.

Pless (Atlanta, Ga.), the 2011 NCAA indoor shot put champion, shattered his own Bates record and the 1985 state meet record in the final event of the night, the shot put. Pless broke his former school record of 56-10, set two weeks ago, on his first attempt, which sailed 17.70 meters, or 58 feet and 1 inch. Jeffrey Shain of the University of Maine set the former meet record of 55-1.75 in 1985.

Pless also won the weight throw earlier in the night, with a personal best mark of 59-0.25, to earn the Peter Goodrich Memorial Most Valuable Field Athlete Award. Bates has claimed all but two Goodrich Awards since its inception in 2003.

Bowdoin's Matthew Hillard won the Jim Wescott Most Valuable Track Athlete Award, after winning the 800 meters by nipping Bates' James LePage by .13 seconds in 1:56.45, and also winning the mile in 4:17.12.

Bates won first place in six events on the night, including a thrilling win in the 4x800 Blackout Relay, in which the majority of the race is run in near-darkness with spectators allowed to crowd the inside two lanes, paying homage to the 2001 race that took place at Bates. In this year's version, junior James LePage (Cumberland, Maine) surged past Bowdoin's Colin Fong over the last 60 meters of the final leg, edging the Polar Bears 7:59.31 to 8:00.20. Junior Nick Barron (Kirkwood, Mo.) finished the first leg first for the Bobcats, while first-year John Stansel (Newburyport, Mass.) and senior Peter Corcoran (Stillwater, Minn.) took the baton for the middle legs.

Other event winners for the Bobcats were sophomore Noah Graboys (Glencoe, Ill.) in the 3,000 meters (8:43.83), junior Anthony Haeuser (South Portland, Maine) in the 60-meter hurdles (8.67 seconds) and first-year Eric Wainman (Glastonbury, Conn.) in the high jump (6-3.25).