Smith, Nelson break Southeast records

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Southeast Missouri State's final track and field tuneup prior to next week's NCAA Mideast Regional featured two scintillating performances.

Although Southeast took only a few athletes to Saturday's Georgia Tech Invitational, Miles Smith and Alonzo Nelson posted times that broke long-standing school records.

Smith, a sophomore, was third in the 400 meters -- and second among collegiate runners -- with a time of 45.45 seconds. That broke the school record of 45.52 set by Terrance Branch in 1994 when he finished fourth in the NCAA Division I Championships to earn All-American honors.

Nelson, a junior, was fifth in the 400-meter hurdles -- and third among collegiate runners -- in 50.77 seconds. That broke the school record of 51.35 set by Andrew Presberry in 1981. Presberry was a Division II All-American.

"Miles and Alonzo had super performances, and they broke records that had been around for a while and were set by some of our all-time outstanding track and field athletes," Southeast coach Joey Haines said.

The performances of Smith and Nelson also moved them up the national and regional rankings heading into the NCAA Mideast Regional, set for May 27 and 28 in Bloomington, Ind.

Although not all of the performances from the weekend have been posted yet, Smith's time ranks fourth nationally, and he has the region's second-best time. He was Southeast's only national qualifier during the indoor season.

Nelson's time places him tentatively at No. 9 nationally, and No. 4 in the region.

Smith and Nelson are just two of numerous Southeast male and female athletes who have qualified for the NCAA Mideast Regional as they shoot for spots in the national meet.

"I think we've got a few athletes who have a shot to get through," Haines said. "Several seem to be peaking at the right time, including Miles and Alonzo."

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