Redhawks will host their annual meet this weekend

Friday, March 31, 2006

Southeast Missouri State's most important home meet of this outdoor track and field season won't be until early May, when the Ohio Valley Conference Championships take place in Cape Girardeau.

But that doesn't decrease the emphasis Southeast puts on what is generally its only outdoor home competition -- the Gatorade Classic.

The 25th annual event will take place today and Saturday at the Abe Stuber Complex.

Today's action will begin at 3:30 p.m. and feature finals in the men's and women's hammer throw, and the women's triple jump.

On Saturday, when most of the meet will be contested, events begin at 11 a.m. The final event, the 1,600-meter relay, is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.

There is no admission charge today. Saturday's admission is $3 for adults, $1 for 18 and under, and free for Southeast students with a valid ID.

"We always compete well at home, and we always really look forward to it," said Southeast coach and meet director Joey Haines. "We never have a problem getting up at home."

While the number of teams competing this year is down somewhat from the past, Haines still expects a competitive meet.

Miles Smith, a Southeast junior, will be the meet's featured performer. He won a gold medal as a member of the U.S. 1,600-meter relay team at last summer's world championships.

Smith, already a two-time NCAA Division I All-American, will run the open 400 meters and will compete on Southeast's 400-meter and 1,600-meter relay teams.

"Watching Miles run is worth the price of admission, and there will be a lot of other events that feature really high-level competitors," Haines said. "People will really enjoy watching Miles run. To have a world class athlete going to school and training right here in Cape Girardeau doesn't happen very often."

Top competition from Smith in the 400 is expected to come from teammate Walt Washington, who was second behind Smith at the OVC indoor, and Indiana State's Sean Wright, who was second at the Missouri Valley Conference indoor.

Division I teams competing for team titles along with Southeast will be Indiana State, Southern Illinois, Murray State and Tennessee State.

Several other squads will have individuals competing but won't be in the running for team honors, including NAIA power Missouri Baptist, Division II power Southern Illinois-Edwardsville and junior college power Rend Lake (Ill.).

Indiana State won the men's and overall titles last year, with Southeast finishing second in both the men's and women's divisions.

"Even though we're down a bit with the number of teams, we're going to have a good meet," Haines said. "Indiana State is very good year in and year out. They've won as many Missouri Valley Conference titles as anybody. They're like us, they're very balanced.

"Missouri Baptist and Rend Lake won't compete for the team titles, but will have a lot of tremendous athletes. Missouri Baptist tripled the score on everybody at the NAIA women's indoor national meet, Rend Lake is always one of the best junior college teams in the country, and SIU-Edwardsville won Great Lakes Valley Conference indoor titles."

There will also be a Fastest Kid in Cape County competition at 2:45 p.m. as youngsters from grade schools in Cape Girardeau and Jackson will compete for ribbons.


Gatorade Classic

At Abe Stuber Complex

Schedule of events

(Events are for both men and women, unless noted)

Today

3:30 p.m. -- Hammer throw

* 4 p.m. -- Triple jump (women)

Saturday

11 a.m. -- 5,000 meters, long jump, shot put, discus, pole vault, high jump

* 11:50 a.m. -- 400 relay

* 12:10 p.m. -- 1,500

* 12:30 p.m. -- Pole vault

* 12:45 p.m. -- 100 hurdles (women), 110 hurdles (men)

* 1:10 p.m. -- 400

* 1:45 p.m. -- 100

* 2 p.m. -- Javelin, triple jump (men)

* 2:15 p.m. -- 800

* 2:45 p.m. -- Fastest Kid in Cape County

* 3:10 p.m. -- 400 hurdles

* 3:35 p.m. -- 200

* 4:05 p.m. -- 3,000 steeplechase

* 4:30 p.m. -- 1,600 relay

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