Nationals went exceptionally well for Bates, as Murtagh, Ethan, and Pless all came home with All-American honors, and Pless with a national crown. On Friday, on his last attempt, Murtagh threw the weight 19.19 meters (62-11.5), his second best throw of the season, claiming fifth and his first All-American honors. Murtagh's throw would have won the event last year.
On Saturday, the success just kept coming as, on his third preliminary throw, Pless put the shot 17.22 meters (56-6), surpassing his own school record by over a foot. The throw ultimately put him 11 inches ahead of the next competitor, earning him a national title as a sophomore, in his first trip to the meet. An interview with Pless from the meet can be viewed here.
Ethan managed to advance, but was on the fringe going into the finals. In his second throw of the finals, however, he unleashed a beastly throw of 16.45 meters (53-11.75), which put him in a secure sixth place, earning him his first All-American award. It should be noted that Ethan's throw, his second best of the season, was a full six inches further than the school record was going into this season.
If I (Sweetums) can speak for the team, to see these three achieve this distinction is immensely satisfying. I recall returning to school this past fall to find all three of them looking as if they had spent at least forty hours a week in the weight room, and it seems as if every time I'm at the gym, no matter what hour, at least one of them is there honing his skills in the circle. What they have achieved is the product of tremendous dedication, and speaks to their outstanding character.