LEWISTON, Maine -- Whether it would be in the 800 meters or in the distance medley relay, Bates senior James LePage knew weeks ago that he would represent the Bobcats at this week's NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships in Naperville, Ill.
When LePage and teammates qualified in both events, it first appeared that his hometown buddy and former Greely High School teammate, Bates junior Mark McCauley, would be making the trip to nationals too, as LePage's alternate in the DMR. McCauley, who transferred to Bates from Columbia University during the 2011-12 academic year, is now unable to make the trip due to illness.
That tale is told by Portland Press Herald staff writer Steve Craig in the newspaper's March 7 edition, in his College Connections column, "Together at Greely and Bates, but not the nationals."
Now running in LePage's place will be sophomore John Stansel (Newburyport, Mass.), an excellent middle-distance runner in his own right: Stansel ranked 50th in all of Division III in the 800 this season, with a top time of 1:55.68, and 39th in the mile (with an adjusted time of 4:16.22).
Despite being potentially overshadowed by the omnipresence of Bates' throwing superstar, fellow captain and six-time All-American David Pless (Atlanta, Ga.), LePage is drawing notice of his own, thanks to a fantastic indoor season whose highlights include a second straight New England Division III title in the 800, and his breaking Bates' 83-year-old team record in the event. Yesterday LePage was honored as New England Indoor Track Athlete of the Year by the USTFCCCA, while Pless won his third consecutive New England Field Athlete of the Year honor. Bates assistant coach Todd Goewey, who coaches Bates' middle-distance runners including LePage, was named New England Men's Assistant Coach of the Year.
LePage, Pless, Stansel and a team-record five other Bates men compete at NCAAs on Friday and Saturday at North Central College.