Greene leaps into Southeast's record book with big jump

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Meleisa Greene was bummed out after her performance at the recent Ohio Valley Conference indoor championships as she scratched and failed to place.

"I was disappointed. Very disappointed," said Southeast Missouri State University's junior long-jumper. "My whole career in track I had never scratched out of a meet, but I guess there's a first time for everything."

But it didn't take Greene long to put that disappointment behind her because she got her outdoor season off to a rousing start with a school-record-tying leap of 20 feet, 1/2 inch during Saturday's four-team home meet.

"It was exciting to have a jump like that," Greene said. "All through college I had been scratching jumps farther than that. I knew it was in me and I finally got one out there."

Greene will look to keep her outdoor season rolling this weekend when Southeast hosts its biggest meet, the 23rd annual Gatorade Classic at the Abe Stuber Complex.

"Starting out so good has really gotten me excited for the season," said Greene, who was second in the Gatorade Classic last year after placing first as a freshman. "And having a big home meet like this is always a lot of fun. There will be lot of good athletes, a lot of good competition. It will help me get pumped up."

The outdoor school mark Greene tied Saturday was the oldest Southeast women's record on the books as Beverly Slaughter had set the original standard in 1981. Heather Denihan holds the indoor school mark of 20-2 1/2, set in 1998.

"Meleisa got off a tremendous jump, and that was one our oldest school records for men or women," Southeast coach Joey Haines said. "Meleisa has already done a lot of good things during her career and we look for even more the next two years."

Greene, from the Memphis, Tenn., suburb of Cordova -- she was a two-time Tennessee state high school long jump champion -- had already ranked sixth on Southeast's all-time long jump list. But getting to the top was a priority.

"It's been one of my goals, to break the record," she said. "Tying it was cool, and I've still got a lot of time to try and break it."

Greene has plenty of other goals to accomplish, including finally breaking through at the OVC championships later this spring. She has been second in both previous outdoor conference meets and had a second and a third indoors prior to this year's disappointment.

"That's a huge goal," said Greene, a Southeast Scholar Athlete who is majoring in graphic design. "I just want to get one out there and win it. It's time for a win."

The way her outdoor season has started, the enthusiastic and energetic Greene has no doubt that this will be her year.

"I'm pumped for this year," she said, laughing. "I think this is going to be my year."

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