Smith, Pappas Qualify For Olympics

MANHATTAN, Kan. Former Wildcat Christian Smith (800 meters) and current assistant coach Tom Pappas (decathlon) qualified for the 2007 Beijing Olympic Games late Monday night at the U.S. Olympic Trials at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon in Eugene.


The 2006 mile national champion Smith qualified for his first Olympic Games with a third-place finish in the men’s 800 meters.  The native of Garfield, Kan., posted a time of 1:45:47 in the event, just behind event winner Nicholas Symmonds of Nike, who finished with a time of 1:44:10, and second-place finisher Andrew Wheating of Oregon, who finished with a time of 1:45.03.  


Pappas, a graduate of the University of Tennessee, qualified for his third Olympic Games with a third-place finish in the decathlon.  He finished with a two-day total of 8,511 points, just behind winner Bryan Clay (8,832) and second-place finisher Trey Hardee (8,534).  Pappas also qualified for the Olympic Games in the decathlon in both 2000 and 2004.  He placed fifth in the event at the 2000 Sydney Games with a total of 8,425 points.


The Trials will take the next two days off before resuming events on Thursday, July 3.  Among the remaining Wildcats set to compete include Loren Groves (hammer throw), Laci Heller (2005-08; hammer throw), Kyle Lancaster (2003-07; high jump), Amy Mortimer (2000-03; 1,500 meters), Scott Sellers (high jump), Kaylene Wagner (2007; high jump) and Gwen Wentland (1991-95; high jump).