GORHAM, Maine -- The Bates men's track and field team had a big night at the 45th Maine State Indoor Championships at the University of Southern Maine, winning the team title convincingly while setting a whopping four event records at the venerable meet.
Bates scored 207 points to easily outdistance runner-up Bowdoin (139), followed by Southern Maine (123), Colby (59) and St. Joseph's (24). Bates also pulls ahead of Bowdoin in the all-time team championships held, with 11 to the Polar Bears' 10. The University of Maine, which no longer participates in the meet, has won 19 of the team titles.
Pless (Atlanta, Ga.), the two-time NCAA shot put champion and six-time All-American, was the easy choice as the repeat winner of the Peter Goodrich Most Valuable Field Athlete Award, after setting new meet standards in both the shot and the weight throw.
Pless's winning weight throw of 62 feet and 1 1/4 inches sailed 18 inches beyond the former meet mark set by his friend and former teammate Chris Murtagh '11 in 2011. Pless also broke his own shot put meet record, a mark he set last year, going 58-10.25.
Fellow senior captain James LePage (Cumberland, Maine) had a hand in both of the other two meet records set down by the Bobcats. LePage won the 600 meters in 1:21.14, defeating Bowdoin's Sam Chick by 1.83 seconds and also trimming the former meet record of 1:22.2, set by USM's Parker Chipman in 2010.
The always exciting 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, was captured for a second straight year by the Bobcats, with LePage handling the anchor leg and running a blazing split of about 1:53 for an overall time of 7:52.83. The quartet beat not only runner-up USM by nearly five seconds, but also went under Colby's 30-year-old meet record of 7:53.94. Also running legs in the race for Bates were first-year Gregg Heller (Walla Walla, Wash.), junior Mark McCauley (Cumberland, Maine) and sophomore John Stansel (Newburyport, Mass.).
Other event winners and top-three performances for the Bobcats included:
- Junior Mike Martin (Slatersville, R.I.) won the 3,000 meters for the second straight year, in 8:43.22.
- Junior John Wisener (Ridgewood, N.J.) won the pole vault at 14-7.25.
- Sophomore Eric Wainman (Glastonbury, Conn.) won the high jump at 6-4.
- Bates also claimed first place in the 4x400 relay, with a time of 3:28.68.
- Sophomore Sean Enos (Lynnfield, Mass.) showed why he may be next in line to continue Bates' hold on the Goodrich award, after placing second to Pless in the weight (55-3) and shot (53-11).
- Junior Jarret McKallagat (Atkinson, N.H.) placed second in the 55 hurdles at 7.85, with senior David Hardison (South Portland, Maine) second in 8.00.
- Senior Andrew Wortham (Newton, Mass.) was second in the 5,000 meters (14:45.00), and sophomore Christian Sampson (Brookline, Mass.) was third at 15:34.03.
- Junior Tully Hannan (West Hartford, Conn.) and senior Nick Barron (Kirkwood, Mo.) were second and third, respectively, in the mile, at 4:13.68 and 4:17.33. Hannan was also fourth in the 1,000, at 2:32.13.
- Stansel and Barron were 2-3 in the 800, at 1:55.68 and 1:55.89, respectively.
- McCauley came in second in the 1,000, at 2:30.65.
- Sophomore Isaiah Spofford (Waterville, Maine) was third in the 55 (6.63).
- First-year Nick Margitza (Waterville, Maine) was third in the shot put (47-7.75) and sixth in the weight (44-4).
Bates competes at the Valentine Invitational next weekend at Boston University.