SACRAMENTO, Calif. (6/5/07) Heath Smith will be looking to add another accolade to his list this week when he makes his first career appearance at the NCAA Track & Field National Championships in the javelin.
The NCAA National Championships are scheduled for June 6-9. The javelin preliminaries are scheduled for 10 a.m. on Wednesday, June 6. The finals are scheduled for 7:15 p.m. on Friday, June 8. There are 26 throwers slated in two flights with Adam Montague of North Carolina holding the top seed mark with a throw of 73.87 meters. The top 12 preliminary marks will advance to Friday’s finals.
“I am so happy for this to happen to Heath because nobody deserves it more,” head coach Rick Watkins said.
Smith is the first North Texas javelin thrower to qualify for the national meet since Bill Schmidt did so in 1970. Schmidt went on to claim second place that year before moving on to claim a bronze medal in the 1972 Olympic Games in the same event.
Smith, a former walk-on, automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships with his second-place throw at the Midwest Regional meet. His throw of 65.62 meters was his career best and now solidifies him in the North Texas record books with each of the top five javelin marks in the “new” javelin category. The javelin categories were separated when in 1986 the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) changed the specifications of the javelin.
He put the top three marks in the record book this season, culminating in his record-breaking heave in Des Moines.
Smith qualified for the regional meet in the javelin and the shot put, making him the only Mean Green athlete to qualify for multiple individual events in 2007. His appearance will also mark the third consecutive season that the Mean Green has sent someone to the national meet.
His road to Sacramento also includes his second consecutive Sun Belt Conference javelin throw and was the first Mean Green athlete to successfully defend a conference crown since 1988.
Smith earned Academic All-America honors last season by ESPN The Magazine.