LEWISTON, Maine -- Bates senior superstar David Pless will lead a record contingent of seven Bobcats competing in a combined 10 events at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships, taking place Thursday through Saturday, May 23-25, at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
Bates' seven NCAA-bound athletes represents the most for a Bates team at an NCAA Outdoor Championship, and the most for the team without a relay entry.
Pless (Atlanta, Ga.), who is undefeated in the shot put, discus throw and hammer throw against Division III competition this season, will compete in all three events this week, while sophomore Sean Enos (Lynnfield, Mass.) made the field in both the shot put and discus.
Meanwhile, senior David Hardison (South Portland, Maine) is in the decathlon, senior James LePage (Cumberland, Maine) and junior Mark McCauley (Cumberland, Maine) are both in the 800 meters, senior Nick Barron (Kirkwood, Mo.) is in the 1,500 and junior Mike Martin (Slatersville, R.I.) will run in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
Pless, the three-time NCAA indoor shot put champion and eight-time All-American, will vie for his first outdoor NCAA title, and appears to have a good chance of doing so in any of his three events. He is the top seed in the shot put, the second seed in the hammer and the fifth seed in the discus, having set team records in all three events over the course of this season. His top mark in the shot put (61-10.5) was reached on Friday at ECACs; his top hammer (201-11) and discus (180-8) both occurred May 2 at the New England Division III Championships. Pless will compete in the discus throw at 5:10pm Central time on Thursday, followed by the hammer on Friday at 2:05 and the shot put on Saturday at 4:00.
Fellow throwing star Enos will make his first appearance at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, after competing in both the shot put and the weight throw at indoor nationals in March. Enos will compete in two events this week, as the 14th seed in the discus (167-3, at New England Division III's) and the 16th seed in the shot put (54-2.5, at Open New Englands).
LePage and McCauley, former teammates at nearby Greely High School, will compete in the 800 as the third and sixth seeds, respectively, based on the career-best times they both ran at Open New Englands two weeks ago (1:50.63 for LePage, 1:50.90 for McCauley). Trials for the men's 800 get started at 7:25pm on Friday, with the top nine individuals advancing to the finals on Saturday at 4:30. This will be the fifth and final NCAA Championship appearance for LePage, a two-time All-American, and his third this year. He was a member of Bates' cross country team that placed sixth in November, and he placed fourth in the 800 at indoor nationals in March, breaking his own Bates record in the process. McCauley is making his second NCAA appearance in a row.
Hardison will compete for the NCAA decathlon championship for the second straight year, and is the 10th seed among 20 decathletes, based on his career-best score of 6,362 points from March 28-29 at the University of Maine. The decathlon gets under way with the 100-meter dash on Thursday at 2:30; the second day of action begins with the 110-meter high hurdles on Friday at 2:00.
Martin is the 10th seed among 20 entries in the steeplechase, based on his career-best time of 9:06.19, with which he won the New England Division III title at Colby on May 2. Martin will run in the trials on Thursday at 8:30pm, with the top 14 runners to run in the finals on Saturday at 2:10. This will be Martin's third NCAA Championship appearance -- he helped Bates finish sixth at the NCAA Cross Country Championships last November, and seventh the year before.
Barron is the 18th seed among 20 men in the 1,500-meter run, based on his career-best time of 3:51.46, which he ran to claim third place at the New England Division III Championships on May 2. Trials for the 1,500 get under way at 4:45pm on Thursday, with the top 12 to run in the finals, slated for Saturday at 3:00. Barron has run in two NCAA indoor championships as a member of the Bobcats' distance medley relay team.