MU’s Miller has flair for dramatic finish

Sunday, January 25, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 4:03 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

Missouri’s Neville Miller trailed for the majority of his race, and that is just the way he wanted it.

Miller, a junior from St. Louis, won one of the most exciting races of the day at the annual Missouri-Kansas-Kansas State Triangular on Friday at the Hearnes Center Fieldhouse.

Kansas State scored 273.5 points to win the event for the sixth consecutive year. Kansas finished second at the meet, which combines men’s and women’s scores, with 227.5 and Missouri was third with 222.

Miller earned a thrilling win in the men’s 800-meter run, finishing in 1:53.38, only six-tenths of a second ahead of Kansas State’s Christian Smith. Smith entered the meet with the fastest time in the Big 12 Conference this season at 1:49.83.

He led with one lap to go, but Miller overtook him on a turn. The rest of the race was possibly the most dramatic part of the meet, with Miller barely holding off Smith.

Miller said trailing was part of the plan.

“I never lead,” he said. “I’m not good with pace, so I work on coming on strong at the end because that’s my strength.”

Missouri coach Rick McGuire compared Miller to a former Tigers athlete who emerged as a star middle distance runner at this same meet eight years ago.

“He’s very close with Derrick Peterson, our former 800-meter champion, and that was Derrick’s best strategy,” he said. “His best races came that way.”

Junior Amanda Bales had a good meet, winning the women’s mile with a provisional qualifying time of 4:48.76. Her time was the fastest in the Big 12 this season.

“Amanda Bales is no secret,” McGuire said. “Everyone knows we’ve got her here.”

Bales, who was All-Big 12 in the mile last year, never finished worse than second in the 800 meters, mile, or 3,000-meter run in 2003.

Two Missouri throwers also hit provisional qualifying marks. Janae Strickland won the women’s shot put (51 feet, 8 1/4 inches), and Conrad Woolsey won the men’s shot put (60-3 3/4). Woolsey, a Division II indoor national champion in the men’s shot put at Northwest Missouri State, has set two personal bests in two weeks at Missouri.

Sophomore Chris Horn won the men’s long jump with a personal best of 23 feet. He also set personal bests in the triple jump (second at 47-1 1/4), and high jump (sixth at 6-8).

Rock Bridge graduate Jason Jones won the men’s 400 in 50.69, and the men’s 3,200-meter relay team won in 7:47.99. Serena Ramsey won the women’s 3,000-meter run in 10:00.23 after leading the 15-lap race from start to finish.

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