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Southeast Track Athletes Prepare For NCAA Finals

June 1, 2005

Cape Girardeau, Mo. - Four Southeast Missouri State University track and field athletes have qualified for the NCAA Division I championships, June 8-11 in Sacramento, Calif.

Sophomore Miles Smith won the NCAA Mideast Regional in a time of 45.16 to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA finals while junior hurdler Alonzo Nelson and the Redhawks 4 X 400-meter relay team received at-large bids. The relay includes Smith, Nelson, Chaz Brown and Chris Poindexter.

"It is very exciting to have four athletes qualify for the national finals," said Southeast coach Joey Haines, the Ohio Valley Conference men's and women's Coach of the Year. "Miles ran a great race in the Mideast Regional final and beat an Olympic gold medallist (Kelly Willie of LSU) to win the title. I think he can still run faster and he will have to at the finals in Sacramento. He goes in with the fifth fastest time, but he can still run faster."

Smith's best time of 45.16 ranks him 14th in the world and is the 19th fastest time in the world this season. He ranks fifth in NCAA Division I.

Nelson, who placed seventh in the 400-hurdles at the Mideast Regional, ranks 16th nationally. He has a personal best time of 50.17. "Alonzo was tired and sore after the preliminaries last week at Indiana and didn't have his best race," Haines said. "He should be able to lower his time in California."

The 4 X 400 relay team ranks 16th going into the finals but Haines feels they can cut a second or two off their best time of 3:06.49. "We will need to run in the 3:04 range to place, but we are capable of running that fast."



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