Men’s track to send record eight athletes to NCAAs
LEWISTON, Maine — The Bates men’s track and field team will send a program-record eight athletes to compete in seven events to the NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships, as the accepted entries for the meet were announced Monday morning.
Remarkably Bates has two athletes who both made the 13-man field in both the shot put and the weight throw, in senior six-time All-American David Pless and sophomore sensation Sean Enos. Bates will compete for the second year in a row in the distance medley relay race, while senior James LePage will run the 800 meters and junior Tully Hannan will compete in the mile.
Enos and Pless lead off the action for the Bobcats on Friday morning, 11am Eastern, for the weight throw competition. Preliminary heats for the DMR, 800 and mile all take place between 3 and 6pm.
Bates’ All-American foursome of a year ago in the distance medley relay — junior Noah Graboys (Glencoe, Ill.) in the leadoff 1,200-meter leg, followed by senior Ben Levy (Belmont, Mass.) in the 400, LePage (Cumberland, Maine) in the 800 and senior Nick Barron (Kirkwood, Mo.) in the anchor 1,600-meter leg — got Bates into the 10-team DMR team once again, tying with Tufts for the third-fastest time in the country, 9:58.30, at last Saturday’s Tufts Last Chance Meet. Sophomore John Stansel (Newburyport, Mass.) will make the trip as the alternate DMR 800-meter leg, freeing up LePage to run optimally in the 800. (Junior Mark McCauley (Cumberland, Maine) was slated to make the trip as the alternate but was a late scratch due to illness.)
Making his fifth appearance in an NCAA Championship, LePage will race the 800 as the seventh seed, based on his adjusted time of 1:53.19 from the original 1:51.59 run on Boston University’s banked track at Open New Englands. The two-time New England Division III champion in the event, LePage is competing at an NCAA Championship for the second time as an individual, after competing in the 2012 outdoor nationals in the 800 and finishing 16th. LePage also ran in last year’s third-place DMR team at indoor nationals, and is a member of Bates’ cross country teams that have finished seventh and sixth in Division III in 2011 and 2012, respectively.
Hannan (West Hartford, Conn.), Bates’ two-time cross country All-American, demonstrated his talent by qualifying as the 18th-fastest miler in the country this season, with a season-best adjusted time of 4:13.06 run at the Tufts Last Chance Meet. Hannan earned the final seed in the 13-man field for his first individual race at an NCAA Championship.
Pless, the two-time NCAA indoor champion in the shot put, has managed to continue to progress on an upward plane this season, setting personal records in both the shot put and the weight throw and a slew of meet, team and facility records as well. (he set the NCAA Championship record a year ago with a then-personal record of 60-6.5. Pless added Bates’ weight throw record to his resume this season, when he set the New England Division III Championship and Bates record in the event at 64-7.75. Pless has since extended the team mark another 15 3/4 inches to 65-11.5 on Saturday at Tufts. He is seeded second in the field in the shot put and third in the weight throw.
Enos, the 2012 NESCAC Rookie of the Year, competes in his first NCAA Championship as he keeps his burgeoning career on an upward plane as well. Enos is ranked ninth in the shot put field with a top effort of 56-4, recorded at Tufts on Saturday. For perspective, as a sophomore, Pless won the NCAA title (and broke his own Bates record) by throwing 56-6). Interestingly, the 13-man field in the shot put comprises six sophomores and seven seniors. Enos is tied with Widener’s Eric Solomon as the 12th seed in the weight throw, based on his 59-7.75 at Tufts on Saturday.