Smith Places Sixth In Discus, Advances To NCAA Championships
Aisha Praught
Aisha Praught

May 28, 2010

AUSTIN, Texas - Another day of competition produced another NCAA qualifier for the Illinois State track and field team, as freshman Brittany Smith earned a spot in the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore., with a sixth-place finish in the discus at the NCAA West Region Preliminary Round, Friday, at Mike A. Myers Stadium.

The Oak Park, Ill., native recorded a throw of 169 feet to place sixth overall in the field of 48 participants to earn a berth into the national championships, June 9-12. Smith just missed advancing in the shot put competition Thursday by placing 13th, with the top 12 competitors in each event moving on, but still has a chance to compete in two events at the nationals with a strong performance Saturday in the hammer throw.

Smith joins fellow freshman Tim Glover as Redbird qualifiers for the NCAA Championships. Head coach Elvis Forde has been impressed with Smith's performances throughout the weekend and believes the future is bright for his talented young thrower.

"Brittany had a tough day yesterday and just missed out advancing in the shot put, so it was good to see her perform to expectations today," Forde said. "Good athletes have a way of overcoming disappointment and bouncing back and that's exactly what Brittany did. Advancing to the NCAA championships as a true freshman is a great accomplishment this early in her career and we believe Brittany has a bright future ahead of her."

In other action on the women's side, juniors Meaka Brents and Tia Harvey both competed in the 200-meter dash. Brents placed 37th with a time of 24.68 seconds and Harvey was close behind in 40th place in a time of 24.76 seconds. Sophomore Aisha Praught finished out a strong showing at the regional with a time of 10:51.41 in the 3,000-meter steeplechase to place 32nd after competing in the 1,500-meter run Thursday.



On the men's side, junior Jon Roberts placed 47th in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 9:37.47 and junior Drew Holl missed on his three attempts in the high jump and did not record a height.

Smith and junior Amanda Albrecht will kick of Saturday's action for the Redbirds in the field in the hammer throw and high jump, respectively, before the team of Sade Sealy, Alia McAfee, Harvey and Brents compete in the 4x100-meter relay.

"I have been very proud of the way our athletes have performed this weekend," Forde said. "However, we still have some quality opportunities tomorrow. If Brittany performs the way she is capable, there is no reason for her not to advance and Amanda will have some good conditions to jump in tomorrow. Also, if the relay team can clean up their handoffs, they should have a chance to move on as well." Your online source for Illinois State Athletics, tickets, TRC gifts, multimedia, Redbird merchandise, photos and more.