The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Missouri Southern Sports

April 28, 2012

Nicole Green finally qualifies for nationals

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The moment Nicole Green had been hoping for arrived with a thud at the Bill Williams/Bob Laptad Invitational.

Green, a senior at Missouri Southern, earned a spot in the NCAA Division II outdoor nationals when her final throw in the shot put Friday of 48 feet, 5 1/2 inches gave her an automatic qualifying distance.

“This whole season, it has been hard to transition from indoor to outdoor,” said Green, who is majoring in elementary education with an emphasis in mathematics. “I’ve thrown every day for two weeks, so I think that’s where the difference was made.”

Green’s first three throws were short of the mark, then she fouled on the next two. Her final throw of 14.77 meters eclipsed the mark of 14.74 meters for an automatic bid.

“I’m sitting third in the nation right now. I am happy,” Green said. “A lot of people came out today to support me. I told them it was my last home meet ever.”

Green’s toss was just one highlight of an eventful day for the Lions. Dustin Green and Seth Hackney earned provisional marks in the men’s shot put, and Green scored a provisional in the discus.

Another national qualifier came in the men’s 100 meters, and freshman Jeff Fraley broke the school record at the same time.

The event took place on the visitors’ side of Fred Hughes Stadium and was run from south to north, as were the other sprint and hurdle events. The wind was blowing from the south at 25 mph with gusts to 32 mph in the early evening, according to the Joplin Regional Airport.

“It was wind-aided, but it still counts as a record,” said Lions men’s head coach Tom Rutledge. “We held him out of the 200 just so he could rest his legs. He’s ranked No. 2 in the nation in both.

“I’ll have to e-mail James Thrash and let him know his record went down.”

Thrash, who later was a receiver and kick returner for the Washington Redskins, held the previous record of 10.35 seconds set on May 15, 1997.

Fraley won the preliminaries in a time of 10.39 seconds, and he then posted a tie of 10.33 in the final.

“It’s good to have something like that,” Fraley said. “I hope somebody else does break it, but just not while I’m here.”

Fraley didn’t emerge as a sprinter until he won the 100 meters last spring at the Missouri Class 4 Track and Field Championships.

He entered the final meet of his senior year at Waynesville High School with a seed time of 11.19 seconds. He ran 10.80 in the prelims and won the final in 10.93.

“I ended up winning state my senior year, but four years ago I was just going to go to college to go to college,” Fraley said. “It’s so much fun to be here. I can’t think of going anywhere else.”

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