MEDFORD, Mass. -- Bates senior David Pless broke his own team record in the weight throw, and the distance medley relay team and sophomore Sean Enos likely clinched trips to next week's NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships, in an exciting day for the No. 8 nationally ranked Bobcats at the non-scoring Tufts Last Chance Meet.
Bates finished the distance medley relay race in a season-best 9:58.30, second behind only Geneseo State (9:56.22), even with Tufts (9:58.30). Legs were run by junior Noah Graboys (Glencoe, Ill.), junior Ben Levy (Belmont, Mass.), senior James LePage (Cumberland, Maine) and senior Nick Barron (Kirkwood, Mo.), the same foursome who finished third at the 2012 NCAA Championships in 10:00.37.
Already looking assured of places at nationals, Bates' throwing stars, Pless (Atlanta, Ga.) and Enos (Lynnfield, Mass.), both had outstanding efforts in the shot put. Pless went 59-5.75 and Enos went a career-best 56-4, while first-year Nick Margitza (Waterville, Maine) capped an impressive debut indoor season with a third-place 46-10.25. Pless, who has won the national indoor shot put title for the past two years, will enter his final indoor nationals as the second seed in the shot put, while Enos will make his first trip and is currently ranked ninth in the country.
Pless then continued his weekly habit of setting records when competition turned to the weight throw, posting a new personal, and therefore team, record with a heave of 65 feet and 11.5 inches (20.10 meters), nearly 16 inches beyond his former PR. Pless set the New England Division III Indoor Championship and Bates record two weeks ago at 64-7.75. Pless's effort puts him at No. 3 on the national rankings list going into nationals. Enos, also set a personal record in the event at 59-7.75, putting him 13th in the country in the weight.
Other Bates highlights included junior Tully Hannan (West Hartford, Conn.) improving his national standing in the mile to 18th with his third-place time of 4:13.06 in the event (Hannan ran a 4:10.09 last week on Boston University's banked track, which by NCAA conversion standards isn't as fast).
And junior Mark McCauley (Cumberland, Maine) ran a 1:54.34 800 meters, moving up to 21st place in the national rankings in the event with the meet's third-fastest time in the event.
The Bates men are shaping up to have a healthy contingent of athletes at the NCAA Championships, taking place March 8-9 at North Central College in Naperville, Ill. With entries due and invitees to be determined on Sunday, Bates appears assured of competing in the DMR, the 800 (LePage), the shot put (Pless and Enos), the weight throw (Pless). Enos may also get to compete in the weight, and Hannan also has a chance of an invitation in the mile.