NAPERVILLE, Ill. — David Pless established himself as Bates College’s first eight-time All-American male athlete, as well as one of the greats in Division III track and field history, in claiming his third consecutive NCAA indoor shot put title on Saturday.
Bates capped the 2013 NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships Saturday at North Central College with James LePage’s (Cumberland, Maine) record-breaking fourth-place finish in the 800 meters.
Pless’s performance, along with his second-place finish on Friday in the weight throw, fueled Bates to fifth place among the 62 teams that scored points at the meet. Only the Wisconsin foursome of Wisconsin-La Crosse, -Oshkosh, -Whitewater and -Eau Claire outscored the Bobcats’ 23 points. Tufts and Worcester State were the next-best teams from New England, both tying for 13th place with 10 points.
Pless joins a short list of 18 other athletes who have won three or more NCAA DIII indoor titles. Only two other men have claimed three shot put titles: Terry Strouf of Wisconsin-La Crosse (1986-88) and Bobby Riley of Wisconsin-La Crosse (2007-09) -- and among them, Pless is the record-holder.
Pless’s top effort of 60 feet and 3 inches, or 18.36 meters, came on his first throw in the finals, 19 3/4 inches beyond runner-up Fred Fulton’s best and final throw of the day. It was only nine centimeters short of the meet record Pless established a year ago, and he also broke a facility record for the second time in the meet. (Pless broke his own Bates record in the event at 61-0.25 in January.)
Desmond, Bell earn All-American honors
University of Southern Maine sophomore Kevin Desmond of Monmouth became the fourth athlete in the history of the Huskies’ men’s indoor track and field program to earn All-American honors as he finished eighth in the 800 meters at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships, held at the Al B. Carius Track–Residence Hall/Recreation Center on the campus of North Central College.
In Saturday’s 800-meter final, Desmond crossed the finish line in two-minutes, 1.97 seconds to place eighth. Desmond qualified for the final by posting the seventh fastest time (1:53.04) in the trials on Friday.
Jake Waterman of Wabash was the champion with a time of the 1:50.30.
Desmond gives the Huskies’ indoor team an All-America for the second straight year joining teammate Ben Manning as Division III indoor All-Americans in the 800. Wil Snyder (2004-pole vault) and Anthony Stanton (2010-high jump) are the Huskies’ other indoor All-Americans.
Also on Saturday, sophomore Jamie Ruginski placed ninth in the triple jump missing All-American honors by eight centimeters (2¾ inches). Ruginski had a mark of 14.58 meters (47-10) coming on the third of his six attempts. Senior Isaac Vazquez of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, the defending champion, won the event for the second straight year with a jump of 15.63 meters (51-3 ½).
The Colby College 1,600-meter relay team of first-year Emily Doyle, junior Frances Onyilagha, first-year Emily Tolman, and senior Brittney Bell of Poland earned All-American honors after placing fourth in the event.
The Colby women had a time of 3 minutes, 51.58 seconds to break their own school record of 3:51.86. The Mules had come into the meet as the third seed. The relay team earned five points for the placing and helped Colby finish in a tie for 37th in the team standings.
University of Wisconsin at La Crosse won the relay in a dominating time of 3:48.32 to break the facility record. The Mules were in the second five-team heat with Wisconsin-La Crosse and finished second.
Wartburg College won the first five-team heat in 3:50.59 and finished second overall. Mount Union placed third overall with a time of 3:51.42 in the first heat.