Des Moines, Iowa (5/26/07) Sometimes when you are a senior you want to just don’t want your career to end early. Heath Smith prevented that from happening by summoning the best javelin throw of his career at the NCAA Midwest Regional meet.
Smith automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships for the first time on Saturday, marking the second straight season that the Mean Green has sent someone to Sacramento, Calif.
“I’m really excited for Heath since he’s worked harder than anyone we’ve had here,” head coach Rick Watkins said. “Seeing him excel at this level at this time of his career shows how hard work can pay off.”
Smith hurled a throw of 65.62 meters, finishing second only to Alex Vandermerwe of Texas-El Paso. The national meet is scheduled for June 6-9 in Sacramento.
Brandi Stanfield still has the chance to join him after finishing eighth with a triple jump of 12.76 meters. Stanfield is the reigning Sun Belt champion in both indoor and outdoor triple jump and will have to wait until the final announcement of the NCAA list on Tuesday to find out if she was awarded an at-large bid.
“The conditions were tough today and we hope that she still was able to do just enough to get in,” Watkins said.
The women’s 4x400 relay team also had a solid performance, turning in an eighth-place time of 3:40.05, just behind their conference-winning mark. Each leg of the relay Ciara Smith, Chi Chi Echebelem, Keisha Hornsby, and Shayla Hart will return next season.
Also competing were high jumpers Mark Lee and Toby Edwards, but neither were able to advance.