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 Audrey Smoot Wins Big Ten 600-meter Race

March 12, 2008 - There is a Big Ten Conference track and field champion with Knightstown connections.

Audrey Smoot, whose grandparents are Morris and Dottie Smoot of Knightstown, and Ralph and Roxie Dalton of Greensboro, won the 600-meter race at the Big Ten Indoor Championships in Minnesota on March 1-2.

Smoot is a junior at Indiana University. She is the daughter of Mark and Diane (Dalton) Smoot of Greenfield, and both of them also have local roots. Mark graduated from Knightstown High School in 1979 and Diane graduated the following year. They reside in Hancock County.

Audrey Smoot is a former Greenfield-Central Cougar, and entered the Big Ten competition as a number nine seed in the event. She surprised the field as well as former NCAA champion and five-time All-American Heather Dorniden of Minnesota. Dorniden was the overwhelming favorite to win the event.

In Saturday’s 600-meter trails, the top five heat winners and the next four fastest times advanced to the finals on Sunday. Smoot won her heat that day with a time of 1:33.95. Despite that strong finish, she was still seeded last out of the nine competitors returning for the finals Sunday.

Smoot raced in the first heat of the finals and finished in 1:31.59, a career-best and the second fastest time ever recorded by an Indiana University runner in that event. She then stood with her parents to watch the second heat, figuring her time would be good enough for a fifth place finish.

Dorniden won the second heat in a time of 1:31.72, meaning Smoot had turned in the fastest time and won the event.

“We’re all very proud of her,” grandmother Dottie Smoot said Tuesday morning. “Mark and Diane drove 10 hours to Minnesota to watcher her race, not having any idea that she would win. Audrey had already won her heat and was watching the next heat, which was supposed to be the fast one, when she saw the finishing time and realized she had won.”

The accomplishment had a little more sugar coating for Smoot. In Big Ten Conference history, no runner seeded last in the 600-meter race had ever beaten a number one seed.

Until now.


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