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Posted: Thursday, August 25, 2005 12:00 am

With Earl Austin Jr.

Miles Smith storms Finland

Sprinter goes gold

St. Louisan Miles Smith (Riverview Gardens) brought home a gold medal from the recent IAAF World Track and Field Championships, which were held in Helsinki, Finland.

Smith, who will be a junior at Southeast Missouri State, earned his gold medal as a member of the USA 4x400-meter relay team. Smith ran the opening leg for the team in the preliminary heat. He led off the relay with a 44.8-second split out of the blocks, which was the fastest leg of the four USA runners in the heat.

Although Smith did not run in the finals (which the USA won in 2 minutes 56.91 seconds), he did receive a gold medal as well as adding to his growing reputation as one of the top quarter-milers in the world.

"He was disappointed that he didn't get to run in the finals, but he established himself as one of the world's top runners," said SEMO coach Joey Haines, who also made the trip to Finland.

The gold medal-winning performance completes a spectacular year for Smith. He was the Ohio Valley Conference Male Athlete of the Year in track, a NCAA Mideast Regional champion in the 400 and a NCAA All-American by virtue of his fifth-place finish at the NCAA Championships.

Outstanding job, Miles.

Jahidi & Larry

Former Cardinal Ritter basketball standout Jahidi White has been in serious talks with the Cleveland Cavaliers, who appear ready to sign the veteran as a backup center. Should White sign, he will be reunited with fellow St. Louisan Larry Hughes, who signed with the Cavs last month as one of the league's top free agents. White and Hughes were teammates with the Washington Wizards in 2002.

Gutsy Central & Beaumont

Nobody will be able to accuse area football coaches John Pikula of Hazelwood Central and Lorenzo Brinkley of Beaumont of ducking the best competition. Both schools have brutal non-conference slates this season. Hazelwood Central will open its season against O'Fallon next Saturday. The Hawks also have road games at Jefferson City and national power Melrose High out of Memphis, Tenn. It that isn't enough, Central must compete in the always-rugged Suburban North Conference.

In the case of Beaumont, it will face East St. Louis, DeSmet and SLUH in the first month of the season. Those three teams were a combined 25-7 record in 2004. As long as the Missouri playoff system puts its entire emphasis on the last three games of the season, it's good to see teams step out and play the best nonconference games they could find.

We're No. 7

My collegiate alma mater, Lindenwood University, received the No. 7 ranking in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) preseason football polls. The Lions finished 11-1 and earned a berth in the NAIA playoffs in 2004. One of LU's top returning players is former East St. Louis standout George Mumphard. McKendree University also cracked the top 10 with a No. 9 preseason ranking.

Mo better recruit

Hazelwood Central guard Mo Smith is receiving recruiting interest from Southeast Missouri State and Western Illinois University. He is scheduled to visit both schools. The 6'3" Smith is one of the top returning guards in the St. Louis area. He averaged 15 points a game as a junior for the Hawks.

Girls hoops clinic, league

Former Saint Louis University women's basketball standout Angie Moore (nee Lewis) will be conducting a girls basketball clinic on Sept. 24 at the Mathews-Dickey Boys and Girls Club. The official name is the Rising Stars Girls Basketball Clinic and it is for girls between the fourth and eighth grades. It will be held in two sessions from 9 a.m. to noon and 1-4 p.m. The cost of the camp is $50 for one session or $75 for the entire day. Lewis is currently playing professionally in Germany. For more information, call (314) 997-0951.

Mathews-Dickey is also conducting a fall girls basketball league, which will run from Sept. 30 to Nov. 19. The league, which is for girls from the fourth to eighth grades, will have recreational and elite divisions. Each team will get 10 games plus the playoffs. The cost is $300 per team. For more information, call the Mathews-Dickey Boys and Girls Club at (314) 382-5952, Ext. 241.

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