SYMMONDS BREAKS NCAA DIVISION III RECORD FOR THE 800 METERS

Senior Nick Symmonds broke the NCAA Division III record for the 800 meters as he ran a 1:47.34 in winning the Tennessee Distance Running Solution race late Saturday at Vanderbilt University.

Symmonds broke the record held by Clive Terrelonger of Lincoln College by .22 seconds. Terrelonger set the old record in 1991.

The winning time, along with breaking the record, firmly plants Symmonds in the top five in the nation for the 800 meters. Currently ahead of Symmonds are only two runners (Khadevis Robinson of Nike and Christian Smith from Kansas State). Robinson has run the top two American times this year, including a 1:44.98. Smith's best time is 1:47.11. Symmonds follows right behind with his 1:47.34.

Running in a field that included Jebreh Harris (#5 800m in US), Nike Farm Team member Sean O'Brien, and two-time NCAA Division III 800 meter champion Matt Groose, Symmonds hit the bell lap in just over 52 seconds, tucked in behind several runners.

Sitting comfortably there for the next 300 meters, the five-time NCAA champion took the lead on the homestretch, setting a personal best by nearly 1.5 seconds, breaking his own Willamette school record and the NCAA Division III record.

Symmonds will attempt to defend his Division III NCAA titles in the 1500 meters and 800 meters at the NCAA Division III Championships which will take place May 25-27 in Lisle, Illinois.

The Tennessee Running Solution is a first-year meet sponsred by Dave Milner. Milner said the 800 was one of the fastest races run in the country this year.

"Nick ran an excellent race. He was the star of the show. He got boxed in as they were coming into the final 300 meters, but he didn't panic. When he saw his opening, he took it and outkicked a very strong field to win the race," said Milner.