Nelson, 1,600 relay join Smith at nationals

Wednesday, June 1, 2005

Southeast Missouri State University will be represented in three events at the NCAA track and field national finals after hurdler Alonzo Nelson and the 1,600 relay team earned at-large berths.

At-large berths are awarded to the top performers who failed to earn an automatic qualification in the regional meets.

Miles Smith, who automatically qualified by winning the the 400-meter event in the NCAA Mideast Regional on Saturday, will anchor the 1,600 relay team, which includes Nelson, Chris Poindexter and Chaz Brown. The foursome placed sixth at the regional meet and has run a time of 3:06.49, which ranks No. 16 nationally.

"Relays are really hard to get to nationals with," Southeast coach Joey Haines said. "You can get lucky and have somebody like Miles or Alonzo, but to put together a relay team is great.

"We're going to be even better in a week. It's going to be hard to make the finals, but we're going to run fast and they'll have to run fast to beat us."

Nelson finished seventh in the 400-meter hurdle event at the Mideast Regional, but his time of 50.77 seconds stands at No. 18 nationally.

The national championships are held in Sacramento, Calif., from June 15 through 18.

"This is really a tribute to the guys and how hard they've worked," Haines added. "It's oustanding."

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