NAPERVILLE, Ill. -- David Pless became the second seven-time All-American male athlete in Bates College's history, as he took second place in the weight throw at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships on Friday.
The Bobcats also saw senior James LePage (Cumberland, Maine) and junior Tully Hannan (West Hartford, Conn.) reach Saturday's finals in the 800 meters and the mile, respectively. Bates' distance medley relay team placed ninth, one place shy of All-America status, and sophomore Sean Enos (Lynnfield, Mass.) placed 11th in the weight throw.
Pless (Atlanta, Ga.) ties seven-time All-American diver Andrew Hastings '02 for the most All-America awards ever given to a Bates male student-athlete. On Saturday Pless will attempt to become the first eight-time All-American when he competes in the shot put -- the event in which he has won the past two indoor NCAA titles.
Pless's top mark of 64-10.75, or 19.78 meters, came on his third attempt in the preliminary heats, traveling 11 inches farther than third-place Tom Postema's top distance of 63-11.75. Wisconsin-Oshkosh senior Pete Delzer dominated the proceedings, passing the 20-meter mark on his final five attempts of the day, topping out at 67-9.5 (20.66m). Pless and Delzer both surpassed the facility record at host North Central College. Enos, in his first career NCAA Championship competition, showed poise in finishing two places better than his No. 13 seeding, with a top throw of 56-6.75.
Hannan, the 13th seed entering Friday's prelims in the mile, went three places better on Friday with the 10th-best time, 4:16.58) among 13 men, grabbing the final qualifying spot in tomorrow's final by a .19-second margin ahead of Amherst senior Patrick Grimes. Hannan was third in his heat, only .03 seconds behind Matt Scott of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
LePage ran third in the second and faster of two preliminary heats in the 800 with a time of 1:52.71, a personal flat-track record for the recently named New England Indoor Track Athlete of the Year. LePage's time was fifth fastest in the 13-man field, two places better than his seventh seeding in the event.
Bates' DMR team -- comprising junior Noah Graboys (Glencoe, Ill.) in the leadoff 1,200-meter leg, followed by junior Ben Levy (Belmont, Mass.) in the 400, sophomore John Stansel (Newburyport, Mass.) in the 800 and senior Nick Barron (Kirkwood, Mo.) in the 1,600 -- finished in 10:08.10, 2.02 seconds behind host North Central for the eighth and final All-America place. Graboys, Levy and Barron all helped Bates place third in the event a year ago.
Saturday's shot put competition, featuring both Pless and Enos, gets under way at 12pm Eastern. Hannan runs in the mile finals at 2:30 and LePage will cap the meet for Bates in the 800-meter final at 4pm.