James LePage knew his school-record 800-meter run for Bates College earned him a spot at this weekend’s NCAA Division III track and field championships.
Until a few hours before the team left Wednesday for Naperville, Ill., LePage thought his run also created an NCAA spot for his hometown buddy and former Greely High teammate, Mark McCauley.
The plan was for McCauley to replace LePage as the 800 leg on Bates’ distance medley relay team, which is looking to top last year’s third-place finish.
Unfortunately for McCauley, a multitime indoor and outdoor state champion, he was hit with possible appendicitis.
“Unfortunately Mark is a no-go and we’re taking John Stansel, a sophomore, instead,” LePage said.
In high school, McCauley was a year behind LePage but usually a few strides ahead on the track. In LePage’s senior season, he finished second to McCauley in the indoor and outdoor 800s. McCauley went on to set the state outdoor 800 record as a senior and went off to Columbia.
After a frustrating, injury-plagued freshman year, McCauley transferred to Bates midway through his sophomore year.
“He came to visit me and went to our State of Maine track meet,” LePage said. “He saw how supportive our team was, how we were all standing and cheering for each other, and by the end of the meet he’d made his decision to transfer.”
LePage has had the more successful college career.
“I’ve just been able to trim a second or two off my 800 time every year,” LePage said. “I was pretty good as a freshman but by no means was I truly competitive in the NESCAC.
“I’ve really stepped up my training this year and one of the biggest things is I’ve been able to stay healthy. Just being with the guys I’m training with, you’re getting better every day.”
This season LePage broke Bates’ 800-meter record with a time of 1:51.59 at Boston University’s banked track. Ossie Chapman’s converted 880-yard time of 1:51.74, set in 1930, had stood unmatched for 83 years.
It was LePage’s third individual indoor record. Earlier this season he lowered his 600 record by over a second to 1:21.14. He also has the school 1,000-meter standard of 2:27.90.
Plus he’s part of the indoor distance medley relay record and the outdoor 3,200 record.
He’ll enter this weekend’s 800-meter race seeded seventh with a converted “flat-track” time of 1:53.1.
“The fastest guy is 1:50 something. It’s a strong field. If you put these guys in a race 10 times, you’re probably going to get at least six different winners,” LePage said.
LePage said his primary goal is to make it out of the second of Friday’s two heats. The top two in each heat plus the next four fastest times qualify for Saturday’s final.
“As an end goal this year I want to break 1:50 and hopefully this week to make the final and be an All-American,” LePage said.
Tyler McFarland of Rockport (Camden Hills), a freshman at Bentley University, set career highs with 29 points and 14 rebounds in a season-ending 81-70 win against UMass-Lowell. McFarland was named the Northeast-10 rookie of the week for a third straight time (fifth overall). He was on the NE-10 all-rookie team, and led Bentley in points (15.5), rebounds (8.4), blocks (30 total) and free-throw percentage (.835).
Bentley freshman Alex Furness of Wells started 10 games, averaging 6.4 points and 3.7 rebounds. Sophomore Andrew Shaw of Saco (Thornton Academy) had his season cut short due to injury. He averaged 8.5 points in 12 games.
• Husson senior Eric Modica of Kittery (Traip Academy) scored 13 points with two rebounds, two assists and two steals in his final college game — a loss to Plattsburgh State in the first round of the NCAA Division III tournament Saturday. Husson went 20-9, its 42nd consecutive winning season. Modica tied for the team lead in scoring at 11.7 ppg.
• University of Maine at Farmington junior Andrew Dickey of Cape Elizabeth was named second-team All-North Atlantic Conference. Dickey averaged 13.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists. Windham’s Garrett Clemmer, a junior forward, started every game, averaging 9.3 points and 3.6 rebounds.
Several local players participated in the USCAA national championship eight-team tournaments in Uniontown, Pa., which endeded last weekend.
In women’s Division I, No. 8 University of Maine at Fort Kent went 0-2. Junior guard Jennifer Colpitts of Scarborough, named honorable mention all-American, scored nine points in a 98-36 loss to eventual champion Daemen College. A leg injury kept her out of the consolation game and three points shy of 1,000.
In women’s Division II, top-seeded Central Maine Community College lost its opener to Penn State Fayette 86-78 despite 26 points from Oak Hill product Maggie Sabine, a first-team USCAA Division II All-American. CMCC won its consolation game. In the two games, junior Danielle McCusker of South Portland had 27 points and six rebounds, junior Ariel McConkey of Fryeburg had eight points with 11 rebounds and freshman guard Maggie McConkey of Fryeburg had nine points and 13 rebounds.
• Southern New Hampshire University senior Sloane Sorrell of Berwick (Noble) earned third-team Northeast-10 All-Conference honors after leading SNHU in scoring (15.1 ppg), rebounding (9.3 rpg), field-goal percentage (.537), steals (64) and blocked shots (34) during a 12-14 season. On SNHU’s all-time lists, Sloane is second in career scoring (1,460), first in field-goal percentage and third in rebounding and games.
• Regis College junior forward Claire Ramonas of Portland (Deering) was a second-team all-New England Collegiate Conference selection. Regis went 23-4 in the regular season, 18-0 in conference play. A first-team pick as a sophomore, Ramonas averaged 10.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists and a team-high 2.2 steals while shooting a league-best 54.7 percent from the floor.
• Colby College senior Diana Manduca of Portland (Deering) was a second-team all-NESCAC pick. Manduca notched her 1,000th point, 300th assist, and 300th rebound during the Mules’ 8-16 season.
Hobart College senior Nick Broadwater of Portland (Deering) was named the first-team goaltender on the ECAC West all-conference team. Hobart was 19-5-2 but didn’t make the 11-team NCAA Division III championship.
Thomas College senior midfielder Ceara DiBiase of Westbrook scored three second-half goals in a 10-8 win at Becker. Senior attacker Jasmine Ryan of Berwick (Noble) had two goals and an assist. Freshman goalkeeper Brittany Fox of Lovell (Fryeburg) made 10 saves.
Lehigh junior architecture major Kyle Lucas of Falmouth showed a commitment to public service. A member of the Patriot League honor roll for the fall 2012 semester, Lucas organized a team trip to Union Beach, N.J., to help a local family retrieve items that had been carried into a marsh by Hurricane Sandy. The team recovered many family keepsakes, including a tub of unbroken china and pictures of the daughter’s 16th birthday party.
Bentley freshman Kelsey Howard of Scarborough was one of 17 teammates named to the 2012 Gladiator by SGI/National Field Hockey Coaches Association Division II National Academic Squad by posting a cumulative GPA of 3.30 or higher in the first semester.
Steve Craig can be contacted at 791-6413 or at email@example.com